‘Jai Bhim’ is maybe one among the boldest movies to have come out of Tamil cinema. It doesn’t dare flip its again on hitting the place it hurts the most, and its politics is not weighed down by the presence of a star like Suriya
At one level on this almost three-hour-long film, there is a goosebumps-raising second that has a tribal lady — additionally the protagonist — turning her again on energy, refusing to bow right down to the system of dominance that has exploited the fruits of their labour, fairly actually. Looking at it purely from the standpoint of Tamil cinema’s masala conventions, it is primarily a “mass” scene written for a Dalit character to provide her an opportunity to take a look at her oppressors in the eye and maybe inform them: “You cannot break me.”
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Senggeni (Lijomol Jose), the spouse of Rajakannu (Manikandan, in one more sensible efficiency) who is combating a lonely battle in the street to justice for husband’s custodial torture and loss of life, will get this rousing second as a result of of her lawyer Chandru (Suriya). Or fairly, as a result of of the backing of an enormous Tamil cinema star. Does it mirror actuality? No. But does it work as a self-congratulatory, mass scene? Yes. It is additionally, because of Sean Roldan’s pummelling music, a very good stretch that communicates the intention that went into conceiving such a placement in the first place. Yet, one thing appears damaged. Either the desired impact it has on us or the scene building feels superficial at some stage.
- Cast: Suriya, Manikandan, Lijomol Jose, Prakash Raj, Rajisha Vijayan and Rao Ramesh
- Director: Tha Se Gnanavel
- Storyline: Based on actual incidents that occurred in the ‘90s Tamil Nadu, Jai Bhim casts light on a ghastly case and the subsequent long road to justice for the wife of a man from the Irular community who is falsely accused
Mind you, this superficiality doesn’t stem from Jai Bhim itself, however from the consciousness of getting a Tamil cinema star taking part in a Saviour and main from the entrance. Props to Suriya and to an extent Tha Se Gnanavel, the film, fortunately, doesn’t undergo from the onslaught of the Saviour Complex. For, Suriya comes throughout extra of an ally right here. But this doesn’t take away the level that the scene mentioned above is a testomony to the tiny trade-offs you’ll have to pay, so as to mainstream-ise tales of injustice and exploitation — all of which has now come out of the Dalit motion. Are we able to forgive and overlook this stream of consciousness for these trade-offs, is a great place to depart for introspection. While in the case of Jai Bhim, it is each a sure and no. But these are issues exterior of the film.
Also Read | Why Suriya’s ‘Jai Bhim’ might be the most vital film in his profession
As for Jai Bhim, it is maybe one among the boldest movies to return out of Tamil cinema. Most of you may confuse its boldness with the film’s ghastly violence, displaying the excessive of police brutality and custodial torture (let me spare the particulars, however a few of these scenes are actually disturbing). But that is not it. Consider the approach it opens and you’ll perceive the place I’m going with this.
The opening sequence has a police officer segregating suspects primarily based on their caste. He asks, “nee endha aalu (which people are you?).” If they are Dalits or from the tribal group, they are made to face in a separate group whereas suspects from dominant and intermediate caste teams are given a free hand. False costs are slapped towards Dalits; they are poached and preyed on by officers in-charge, to shut the pending instances.
Perhaps what is extra vital is, there has by no means been a latest Tamil film the place the names of dominant caste teams are explicitly talked about, in the worry of the ripple impact it’d create. There is, in reality, a scene the place a dominant caste group member might be heard saying, “Unga kudusai-ya kollutha evalavu neram aagum (how long do you think it’ll take for us to set your house on fire).” But Jai Bhim doesn’t flip its again on all that. The politics right here is not watered down; it is direct and takes an incisive look. It doesn’t punch down, however up. This is a film that strips down the particular person elements of caste, regulation enforcement and justice system and questions every of them on the witness stand.
What Tha Se Gnanavel additionally will get it proper is the method during which Dalits and folks from tribal communities are exploited for his or her labour. Rajakannu earns a dwelling by making bricks for his oppressors, however he can’t construct a home for himself. He is known as on each time there are rodents (or snakes) in the fields however isn’t allowed to the touch or strike a dialog with a dominant caste member — he will get shooed away by a woman, when he says they arrive from the similar village. For virtually near 40 minutes, we get to see the myriad methods caste takes form in Rajakannu’s life and the irony performs out superbly, even when this will likely sound barely insensitive.
Jai Bhim turns right into a courtroom drama when Rajakannu, together with three others, is forcefully taken into custody. Despite its run-time, there is not a single scene that appears uninteresting, and there is one thing continually occurring. Even the courtroom scenes, which can undergo from familiarity in one other film, brim with an timeless spirit. Suriya performs a social activist-cum-lawyer Chandru, primarily based on the real-life individual. There is simmering anger in Suriya’s eyes that is even all through. But the anger doesn’t cut back Suriya to a rabble rouser; it reveals dignity too.
These are all the deserves. Now allow us to tackle the elephant in the room: Jai Bhim, if something, is a tragic but essential addition to the lengthy checklist of movies about oppression that, in case you come to think about it, might not transcend past the OTT crowd and attain its major supply viewers — on this case, the largely ignored Irular group. Are we fake-congratulating ourselves by simply giving them mainstream consideration? How can we iron out this disparity?
Jai Bhim streams on Amazon Prime from November 2