A 2022 Malayalam movie
Here is a thought-provoking review by an anonymous writer that has made us sit and take notice. Kudos to this writer for calling out the absurdity of the biased society we live in.
This is the first time I’m posting here. Sorry, it is a long one, but please bear with me. I saw the movie Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya hey recently, and I have never felt so happy watching a movie so relatable. I am not talking about the physically violent environment in which our protagonist was, or the extreme loneliness she had to face.
It’s in the sublime. Passive aggressiveness.
It also doesn’t always take a dark turn, it is sprinkled with well-meaning pieces of advice” ninte nallathinu vendiya” (it’s for your own good), ” ninod sneham ullath konda”( it’s out of love).
But I have come to realize they probably do think it’s for the better. There’s mostly no ulterior motive of “keeping you mum and tied down with shackles of wifey/motherly responsibilities.” The years and years of patriarchal brainwashing numbed them to such sensibilities. I went from one gilded cage to another, not knowing what to do or what to expect. The microaggressions were like spearheads thrown at me. I’m sure the majority of Malayali married women have faced and experienced this in their lives.
Like when you want to cook something in the kitchen MIL says, ” ithonum avanu istamalla, avanullath njan undakam” (he won’t like this, I will cook for him)
Like when you say you want to move out, he says ” athinu ninak veedu ottayk nokan ariyilla, pachakam ariyilla, enik amma undakunna pole thanne venam” (you can’t take care of a household yourself, you can’t cook like mom, I want it like how she cooks)
Like when he says, ” kunjayal ne thane nokanam, njan nokilla, enteyum kujnintem karyam ne shraddikanam” (when the baby comes you will have to take care of it, I won’t help. You will have to care for both baby and me)
Like when you’re newly pregnant and overwhelmed, and he says ” lokath ella penungalum prasavikum, ith valya karyamonumalla.”(every woman gives birth, not just you. It’s not a big deal)
When you cry about it he says, “ninak vayyenkil ennem kude enthina ithil valich ittath” (if you can’t handle it, why to trouble me and pull me into this?)
When you are in pain from episiotomy and want medication, he says “ithinoke enthina marunn, sahichude?” (Why can’t you bear the pain, why take medicine?)
When you’re taking care of a newborn and no one is there in that household to support you.
When you have to sleep alone in a room with the baby because the husband can’t be disturbed by the child’s cry.
When every woman I know says “ithokke ithinte kude ullatha” (it’s all part of it)
This movie apparently focused on the particular society of Kollam, and this is probably the general mentality of people, especially mothers of men that support patriarchy vehemently.
When Jaya decided to stand up for herself, it felt like it was a win for all women like me. It is not that she decided to beat up Rajesh. It is the courage she found out of thin air to believe in herself when no one else did. She decided to give herself a second chance.
By the way, I and my husband watched it together. We both enjoyed it. But nothing prepared me for the surprise that my husband identified himself with Rajesh in some mannerisms (like when he says shampoos are chemicals or when he controls what food she eats) and I saw a realization dawn on him about how his behavior must have affected me. It’s been many years since we were married and he has changed a lot. He is a supportive husband and a loving, caring father. Even though the remnants of the patriarchal upbringing might have clouded his judgment, what I see is a father of a girl who sincerely wants “neethi, samathvam, swathanthryam”( justice, equality, freedom) for his daughter.
So yes, I sincerely thank the makers of Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey. Thanks a lot.
POST BY #ANONYMOUS