Sree Dhanya Catering Service
It is Thursday and just a day away from the weekend madness that promises its share of new releases! But before that I had dropped a poll on my Youtube Channel Popcorn Reviewss on the lines of which Malayalam film I should watch, review and make a video on, tonight. The two options that I did give were Mei Hoom Moosa and Sree Dhanya Catering Service, and the latter won by an overwhelming result. And with that I happened to watch the Malayalam film Sree Dhanya Catering Service on Amazon Prime.
I must admit I had not even heard of the film Sree Dhanya Catering Service. In fact, I came across its name only yesterday and while reading about it I got to know that the film is directed by Jeo Baby who is the man behind the masterpiece The Great Indian Kitchen. And that led to a dilemma on whether I should opt for Mei Hoom Moosa over this, and hence the poll. But now that the results are out and I have finally got to watch Shree Dhanya Catering Service, here are my two cents on the film.
Story & Screenplay
Sree Dhanya Catering Service follows the story of a group of men who decide to prepare Biryani until things go south. The story is a hilarious situational comedy with a few layers tapped into the patriarchy that is prevalent in our society. The screenplay standing at just under a 100 minutes did feel slightly stretched given the source material at hand.
The drama opens with the introduction of a character that seems to be a leader only for an extended animation piece to roll that does give you an impression about his personality. Soon you are introduced to a bunch of other characters including a few of the main players that definitely does promise a dish filled with chaos.
There are hidden subtexts about the male ego and the patriarchy that is prevalent in our society much like in The Great Indian Kitchen. For instance, a character in the film does not allow his wife to go anywhere or even dress up as per her wish(an additional hidden subtext of the wife telling her daughter to put on an extra piece of clothing in a separate scene) until one day he sends her off only to invite his bunch of friends for a night of booze and cooking. The drama here is subtly hilarious and quite enjoyable.
One drawback that I did find was that there were so many subplots and not all of them were well tied together to the main plot. For instance, the character of the leader was barely there in the film and he returned only towards the end. If the focus was just on the main plot then the impact may have been even higher! This perhaps may have been done because the writing material was thin and perhaps the drama may havw worked better as a short film.
But there is so much to like in the screenplay especially when the actual fun of cooking begins. There are new characters that keep popping in that only leads to further chaos. As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth! In a hilarious sequence, there are two characters who are are arguing as to how to prepare a Kozhikode biryani or a Kottayam biryani. This when one of them retorts – Is there is law on how to prepare the “right” kind of Biryani. This had me in absolute splits. The events leading up to the final act are equally hilarious when finally it is the women who come to their rescue. As they say, never trust a man with a task….always double check🤣. So overall, the screenplay is hilarious and enjoyable although it does run thin at times.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but they do find a way to make you smile in this terrific situational comedy. The music and BGM are good and blend well with the drama and also the area where the drama is set in. The cinematography was experimental and it did take a while for me to settle into the drama with the constant shaking frame. Probably it was used as a metaphor for chaos and disruption but it kind of was a bit of a hit and a miss for me. Director Jeo Baby does a terrific job here in taking a simple premise and adding layers of subtext to it.
The performances are really good by the artists whose work I have not seen much of. Gilu Joseph as Simi does a good job here. Phantom Praveen as Mahonnathan is good in an underwritten role. Vyshnavi Kalyani as Varsha, Beena Jeo as Sreedhanya and Anna Fathima as Achu are excellent here. Jeo Baby(who has acted too) as Sibi is first rate. Moor as Martin and Prasant Murali as Shinoy are hilarious and account for many memorable moments in the screenplay.
Sree Dhanya Catering Service is a lip-smacking satire that makes for a hilarious watch. Available on Amazon Prime.