With Sanya-led Mrs set to première at Tallin film festival, director Arati aims to challenge gender roles by telling the story of a homemaker
Traditional gender roles have always bothered Arati Kadav. So, when she got the chance to shatter them through the film, Mrs, the director jumped at the opportunity. Now, the Sanya Malhotra-starrer is set to have its world première at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on November 17. The drama has also secured a spot in the Critics’ Picks category at the ongoing festival.
Mrs is an adaptation of The Great Indian Kitchen (2021)
To the director, this honour reaffirms her faith in the powerful story that was brought forth by The Great Indian Kitchen (2021). With their adaptation of the Malayalam film, Malhotra and Kadav hope to take the theme of challenging patriarchy to a wider audience, as they tell the story of Richa, an aspiring dancer who finds her life confined to the kitchen after she marries into a conservative family. “Since a young age, when I looked around, I realised that every woman felt that it is her duty to cook and feed her family. Even working women had internalised this double shift as a sense of duty,” laments the director.
In her protagonist Richa, Kadav found the everywoman, complete with her struggles and strength. “When I started researching and hearing personal stories of young homemakers, I realised that through one story, we were representing the lived experience of so many of them. I have always believed cinema is a medium that can spark conversations and [bring] change. I have made Mrs, hoping that it does that in some way. Sanya brought a beating heart and soul to the character.” The Jio Studios offering also stars Nishant Dahiya and Kanwaljit Singh.
The role is a fitting addition to Malhotra’s filmography. In her seven-year career so far, the actor has embodied spirited women—from the determined wrestler in Dangal (2016) to the young widow who discovers herself in Pagglait (2021). Overjoyed that Mrs is selected for the renowned festival, she says, “This film is close to my heart, as it is a reminder that women have the strength to shatter patriarchal norms. My character’s determination as an aspiring dancer in the face of patriarchal expectations reflects women’s resilience. I hope this film sparks important conversations as we present it on such a prestigious platform.”