The Kitchen

“My earliest memories of my mother is of seeing her in the kitchen – she would be there when I left to school, having just cooked our breakfast and lunch and when I returned, she would hurry back there to dish up some delicious snacks. My last glimpse of her for the day would be tidying up in the kitchen and my first one of her either hurrying to or from there. I began to wonder what this space meant to her. It was enigmatic to me – to me, it was just a physical space out of which magically delicious morsels appeared but what did this space mean to her? Did she transform the space or was she the one being transformed? Was it her fiefdom where she felt more powerful, more valid because it helped her create so much for her family? Or was it a prison to which she went unwillingly each day?

I wanted to explore this idea – of the relationship between a woman and her kitchen through the medium of a dance film. But exploring the idea with the dancers led to some very interesting and often completely unexpected answers! To the dancers, the space became events, incidents, emotions and stories. It was a set-up that represented everything that was disadvantageous of being a woman. And so the space transformed and with it, the narration too – a space to cook – true – but also a space to voice out, a space for release.

Harking back to an earlier era, the film will feature stories being narrated over a meal being cooked set against the backdrop of a kitchen of the yester-years inspired from Ilayaraja’s paintings with an all-female ensemble. I have used Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance to form the base language of the choreography and physical theatre to assist the narration. Keeping with the look, the dancers will appear in the traditional working style attire of an earlier era.“