Jeo Baby’s terrific ‘Sree Dhanya Catering Service’ is a funnier, more free-flowing take on ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’, with men doing the cooking this time

Spoilers ahead…

Recently, many films have used humour as a vehicle for thorny subjects, but Jeo Baby’s balancing act is possibly the best – he is not inviting us to laugh at these characters, but with them.

Let’s begin with an echo shot. Jeo Baby’s Sree Dhanya Catering Service opens with a few men huffing and puffing and grumbling as they cycle to an uphill destination. Much later, we see two women cycling freely and happily on regular roads. Let’s look at another echo, this time with a couple of events. Early on, a middle-aged housewife has to ask her husband permission to visit her home. Later, we see a much younger woman on a motorbike, going wherever her heart takes her. Somewhere between all this lies what the film is trying to do. Right from his first feature, 2 Penkuttikal, gender has been a part of the stories this director likes to tell. Sree Dhanya Catering Service can be seen as a gender reversal on The Great Indian Kitchen, the movie that put Jeo Baby on the map. There, it was a woman struggling with the business of making food, among other things. Here, it is about a bunch of men struggling to make biriyani to celebrate a child’s birthday..

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