The recently released Mollywood movie Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey is tagged as a comedy version of the movie The Great Indian Kitchen. While the latter realistically showcases the hardships of the domestic life led by a woman after a typical arranged marriage, this film humorously captures the various patriarchal stereotypes/mindsets that a girl usually encounters from her childhood till her adulthood. Let us talk about some of the topics that this movie has tried to explore.
The overly analysed discrimination between boys and girls
The preferential treatment given to a male child in a family is a topic that is spoken about and debated over for years. Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey is a reminder that such incidents still exist. It showcases sequences where Jaya, the female lead played by Darshana Rajendran, is handed over used clothes, toys, and even books her brother owned as the family prioritizes spending their limited money on fulfilling the needs of their male child.
When Jaya secured a merit seat for B.Sc, her family decides to send her for BA as the B.Sc college was far and required an additional expense of a hostel fee. This is an understandable dilemma but the reality is that the family had chosen to spend money to buy a seat for their son. Jaya’s education and passion are not considered seriously. Yet again highlighting the erstwhile mentality that men are to be educated as they are the breadwinners and a female’s education can be put on hold as they are to be married off.
That random important ‘Ammavan’ (Uncle)
In a typical ‘cultured and traditional’ family setup, there always exists that one random dude who claims to be a well-wisher, the Ammavan. Since we still live in a society where the words of strangers /elders (mostly males) are given more importance, this Ammavan is given the freedom to barge into our house and make important decisions for us such as what to eat, what to study, when to marry, whom to marry, etc.
Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey realistically explores the influence of one such privileged Ammavan who deems that it is his right to interfere in others’ personal affairs and how even the father/mother of the family seems to blindly follow this person’s opinions/decisions. It is high time we remove our blind spot and acknowledge the adverse impact of elevating and entertaining such figures in our family.
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The chameleon ex
Aju Varghese portrays the character of a lecturer who stands for women’s rights and empowerment. He is also often shown conducting talks about the importance of women’s equality and financial independence. Who wouldn’t respect and maybe, even love this person, right? Once Jaya enters a relationship with him, we are shown a totally different side of his personality. A possessive and male chauvinistic boyfriend who questions her dressing sense, forbids her from talking to other men, blocks men from her social media accounts, and even resorts to physically abusing her.
I personally feel this character was a silent warning to every girl who bears such a significant other in their life. The chameleon boyfriend doesn’t walk the talk and believes he is open-minded and has the right to give ‘freedom’ to his girlfriend.
Good girl = No voice, No choice
The one who obediently listens to elders, sacrifices all her wishes/dreams for the family’s happiness, cooks delicious food, silently bears the abuses from her husband, and gives birth to babies. This is the definition of a good girl that can be satirically inferred from this movie.
Throughout Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, whenever Jaya tries to take a stand for herself, she is emotionally blackmailed and rendered silent by her own family. When she voiced her opinion of wanting to study B.Sc, her words were brushed off by a statement “Men make the decision in the family” and in the next scene, we see her studying BA. When she tells she doesn’t want to marry, the next scene is emotional blackmail followed by her pennu kanal. Even when she orders porotta and beef in a restaurant, her husband disregards her choice and convinces her to order his favourite dish. And after all the decisions that are forced on her, everybody conveniently believes that they have acted for her good and that she ought to be happy.
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While men follow Hitler, women should follow Gandhiji
Basil Joseph portrays the character of Rajesh, Jaya’s angry and short-tempered husband. When Jaya undergoes physical abuse at the hands of her husband, she raises her concerns with her family but as always, she is asked to practice patience, adjustment, and compromise.
The movie takes an entertaining turn when Jaya decides to retaliate against her husband. She studies self-defense on YouTube and attacks Rajesh when he tries to slap her. As soon as this happens, the whole family who silently watched Jaya getting abused suddenly gets involved. After all, a wife is supposed to follow Gandhiji’s path of ahimsa even though her husband is literally a ‘Hit’ler.
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The ultimate solution – Baby
Is your marriage on the verge of ending? Do you feel that love is lost in your relationship? Does your husband/in-laws torture you? Well, let’s introduce you to the age-old secret to save your relationship and magically transform the behavior of your husband and in-laws – oru kunji kaal (baby)!
In this movie, this ultimate solution is used in an opposite manner. When Jaya started following Hitler’s approach, Rajesh decides to impregnate her so that she silently retreats back into her old domestic life of cooking, cleaning, and serving her husband. A baby is generally considered the final lock on trapping an unhappy couple in a life-long sentence and saving their face in the eyes of society.
And they lived happily ever after
As the movie continues to showcase various issues (which are generally tagged as small problems and overlooked by many) that a woman faces in a patriarchal society, we are shown scenes that hint at a possible reconciliation between Jaya and Rajesh – when Rajesh sadly admits he cannot live happily without Jaya and when Jaya tells in court that the divorce is not mutual and that she was never consulted before giving the petition. Many viewers would have secretly hoped for a happily ever after.
But when Jaya, an ordinary girl with no family support, no degrees and no money signs the divorce petition, it is a nudge for society to wake up and accept that ‘happily ever afters’ are sometimes just a fairy tale. It is important to leave a relationship where respect is no longer served. The movie ends with a much-needed message that women need three basic things in a relationship – Equality, Justice, and Independence.
Before you write off Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey as being just another female-oriented movie with nothing new to offer, I would suggest giving it a watch for the following reasons: brilliant acting by Darshana and Basil, serious topics conveyed in a humorous manner, sarcastic/realistic lyrics of the songs and for giving some motivation to the girls out there who may be going through similar situations.
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