The film looks at the relationship dynamics in a middle-aged couple, where the woman frequently loses her identity
During the lockdown, many men discovered that cooking and housekeeping was not exactly rocket science. Tom J Mangatt’s short film Women’s Day, released on March 8 on YouTube, is about the relationship dynamics in a middle-aged couple. While Alex, the husband, is forced to fend for himself in his wife Sumitra’s absence, she gets some time for herself to introspect and rediscover her identity and interests.
The 17-minute Malayalam film, written and directed by Tom, has got a thumbs up from netizens. “It was during the lockdown that I wrote the script of Women’s Day. It was obvious that many men were discovering the kitchen for the first time in the absence of any domestic help. There were a number of interesting changes in many households,” says Tom. Tom, a publisher, was looking for a change in his career and had been assisting director Martin Prakatt to get a feel of what it all entailed. As a prelude, he also directed a couple of short films.
He points out that though the film touches upon the lack of democratisation in the kitchen and how cooking and home-keeping are often seen as a woman’s work alone, Women’s Day explores the nuances of an unequal relationship where the woman frequently loses her identity to keep the peace in a marriage. “She gradually finds herself losing her self-esteem and confidence. Eventually, she becomes a shadow of her husband without any time for herself or her interests,” he adds.
The theme begets the question if the short film was inspired by The Great Indian Kitchen, the Malayalam film that became the talk of the town for its raw portrayal of chauvinism within households. “No, the script was written much before that. I wanted a light-hearted film that focused on a woman taking charge of her life instead of being a doormat,” he explains.
Critic and writer NE Sudheer is the surprise in the film, playing the self-centred, dominating Alex, while Nina Kurup, Lali PM and Yadunandan P are also part of the cast. Music by Jerry Amaldev enhances the film.
Tom says there is a feature film in the making soon.