Director: T.J. Gnanavel
What’s Good: The realisation that the marginalized have faced crimes so evil and that too for no reason. It is a wake-up call as the last slide of the film says they still continue to happen. Suriya’s amazing film choices and Lijo Mol Jose’s heart-shattering performance goes without saying.
What’s Bad: That I did not know a man with such a glorious history exists. The runtime bothers just a bit.
Reality makes one uncomfortable and this one out of all has a brutal tale to tell. You wouldn’t be able to control if nature calls this time. That doesn’t mean the film lacks in any sense.
Watch Or Not: There should be nothing that will stop you from watching this drama that breaks the stereotype of framing the hero as messiah yet again. Suriya is making some impeccable film choices and deserves all the credit.
Language: Tamil (with subtitles).
Available on: Amazon Prime Video.
Runtime: 164 Minutes.
The year is 1994, Sengani (Lijo) and Rajakannu (Manikandan), a couple belonging to the Irulas, a tribal community in Chennai are living their life with dignity dreaming of a successful future. One day the village President is robbed and by bad luck, Rajakannu is framed as the thief. Begin the open showcase of police brutality, atrocities and the game of power crushing the marginalised that needs Chandru (Suriya) to save the day.
Jai Bhim Movie Review: Script Analysis
BR Ambedkar in one of his addresses to the assembly had said that as long as one doesn’t achieve social liberty, the freedom provided by the law is of no use to anyone. It’s been ages to the day, has much changed? Are we better humans? Did the powerful stop oppressing the have nots? The answer is a big NO. Titled most appropriately, Jai Bhim starring Suriya addresses all of this and more while telling us the story of a hero we should actually know about.
Before going any further, I would suggest you to read a bit about Justice Chandru, on whom Suriya’s character is based on. The man is a living example of how one must practice their voice and what it takes to make it hear louder and clearer. Written by T.J Gnanavel, the best thing about Jai Bhim is that it doesn’t make its leading man a Messiah. He does not have the saviour complex. There is a sense of fear in him too, but he lets his confidence overcome it.
For that matter, Jai Bhim has no hero but villains in huge numbers. The screenplay is written in a way that you see normal people face the evils of the system and either coming out of it by paying a price or dead. The first frame has police officers literally segregating the ‘untouchables’ from the people with a higher caste. Criminals are asked which caste they belong to. The first blow to my privileged conscience was the fact how the marginalised were considered pests and the oppressors thought eradicating them was their job. And this happened for real.
To make you realise the enormity of pain that Irulas went through in the 90s and still continue to in many parts, he doesn’t rush to introduce his big hero. Rather he gives ample time to the real characters who are suffering the pain. You see a happy couple being destroyed by the men in power for a crime they never did. Women are molested like it doesn’t matter, men are killed as if rodent, and Irulas are subjected to all of this because their mistake is they were born in that community.
The screenplay takes shape from a happy life to the tragedy and finally the struggle to find dignity and empathy in a place that lacks both. If this one doesn’t shatter you, what will?
Jai Bhim Movie Review: Star Performance
It could be Suriya overshadowing all the posters and he must to make this gem of a film reach far and wide, but the real hero of this movie is Lijo Mol Jose. Lijo plays a pregnant woman who is looking for her husband while her first born girl is by her side. She is naive to know this world, but the system that preys on her even before they have their hands on the main accused, makes her what she never wanted to be in the first place. Of course she isn’t Mardani strong, but she is strong enough to not let the men break her spirit. Lijo’s art in these 164 minutes is worth every appreciation that comes her way.
Manikandan who plays Rajakannu is another heartbreaking performance. He is at no fault, but he pays the price for being from a particular community. Manikandan manages to bring the baggage of his existence on his back and it is visible. The only dream he shares with Sengani is building a house of bricks. My heart sunk when she walked into one, but not with him.
Suriya deserves to be given an award just for the projects he is choosing to back. First Soorarai Pottru and now Jai Bhim. He has somehow managed to keep his superstar image aside and blends into his surrounding completely. Chandru is a character with a lot of responsibility. The writers even write him carefully, not giving him much of a back story. But a bit of it was required.
Jai Bhim Movie Review: Direction, Music
T.J Gnanavel in his direction mainly focusing on telling the tale visually. Because his story on paper is so strong and robust that half his job is already done. The rest half hr manages to show through visual metaphors. The Irulas only allowed to get rodents out of the houses of the rich, the absence footwear amid the Irulas, and so on.
To help him create the most shattering imagery is SR Kathir and his camera. He uses his camera to show the contradictions the two communities stay in, in the same village. While progress has touched the rich, the marginalised has no taste of it.
Sean Roldan’s music is haunting and he manages to elevate the whole film with it.
Jai Bhim Movie Review: The Last Word:
Watch Jai Bhim with a strong heart. This happened to some people for real. Caste politics exists in many parts of the country and movies like these with people like Suriya backing them are important to educate.
To catch more of amazing films from South, read our Rathnan Prapancha Movie Review.
Jai Bhim Trailer
Jai Bhim releases on 1st November, 2021.
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