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Food For Thought review: Old habits and traditions die hard

Release Date: 15 Apr 2020

Cinestaan Rating

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Sonal Pandya

The short but effective film by Tania Deohans shows how ingrained traditional ideals of an Indian family still are.

The year may be 2020, but for some families, modern thinking only arrives with their modern appliances. The rest is still stuck back in ideals a few generations back. The short film, Food For Thought, by Tania Deohans, captures this quite well, though with a humourous hand.

Zenobia (Aban Barucha Deohans) and her daughter Simran (Rashi Mal) prepare for a visit from a prospective groom for her. We have seen this seen many times before, however, the conversation that follows is much more refreshing. Over snacks and tea, the two families get to know each other as they list out their offsprings' accomplishments.

At one question though, the whole conversation takes a turn. Do you know how to cook? Obviously, this is directed at the young woman. Simran, a cardiologist, answers in the negative. So does her mother. Her family has focused on her work and career over learning how to cook and tend to the family.

Both of her parents are professors, and like their daughter, prioritise work over home. They have a maid to cook and take care of the household chores.

The visiting family takes it as an affront. Their daughter-in-law must know how to cook and take care of the family members at home. The rishta (arrangement) is called off. Until a late night phone distress call from the would-be mother-in-law Seema (Alka Amin) asks for help with her husband Suraj (Micky Makhija). They require a consult from the cardiologist at home, Simran.

The ten-minute short, written by Aban Bharucha Deohans, confronts outdated gender issues which dictate that only women are saddled with the care of a household, especially the kitchen. While Simran's progressive parents state that they've raised their daughter to be herself with good values, I wish the question of cooking was also directed to the passive groom-to-be. Now that would have been some food for thought.

The cast enact their roles well, and atmosphere of Simran's half-Punjabi, half-Parsi home is firmly established with nice touches between the family members. The production design by Juhi Talmaki and the costumes by Kamlaxi Gupta give the short film a nice live-in feel too.

Food For Thought begins to tackle an important subject amongst many families going in for arranged marriages these days, but just when it begins to crack upon a surface, it ends abruptly. Even though the end is appropriate, I just felt there might have be a little more to be said.

Food For Thought is now streaming on Zee5.

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