Directed by T J Gnanavel with Manikandan and Lijomol Jose on the lead with a special performance by Suriya, this movie was released on Amazon Prime on November 2. The success of this movie is its direct hits with no misses from its inspiration from the real-life case that retired Madras High Court justice Chandhru (played by Suriya in the movie) fought in the 90s.
Supporting the earlier inference of direct hits, the movie begins with a police officer segregating released convicts based on caste. The police officer asks, “Nee Endha Aalu?”, inferring to what caste does the convict belongs to and makes the inferior caste members stand in a separate group and sends home the superior caste members. After which, this group of people are distributed equally among the other police officers and slapped with false charges to close the pending cases. Gnanavel uses this opening sequence to show us how deep and powerful is the movie going to be. Maybe such explicit and bold inferences from the movie are what makes this movie stand out from all the other recent movies that just indirectly target the dominant class of society in common.
Senggeni played by Lijomol Jose – wife of Rajakannu (by Manikandan) are a loving couple from the Irula tribe community living their life as snake catchers. Their perfect life comes to a stall when a false charge is placed on Manikandan, how Senggeni fights this prejudice, battles the case with the help of her lawyer Chandhru is the plot of this movie.
The scenes of all the prejudices and ill-treatments shown in the movie are so strong and disturbing that make us cringe. But, as per reports, this portrayal is a mild-toned depiction of what truly happened in reality. A few such depictions make us recall the scenes of police custodial wrongs and deaths from movies like Visaranai, Karnan, etc. Although there are similarities among this array of movies, it still melts our hearts and screams in agony.
The whole movie is a subtle yet vibrant recall of Dr. Ambedkar’s teachings and principles. Starting from the title of the movie, Jai Bhim – we cannot ignore the irony and resemblance to the Indian leader. Bhim from the name of the movie coincidentally infers to B.R. Ambedkar (Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar). Also, a scene where Suriya asks, “Gandhi, Nehru laam irukaanga, Ambedkar enga?” This was another direct hit inclining how strongly casteism has been rooted. Also, the scenes emphasizing the importance of education, upliftment of oneself is the true way out of such prejudices surely has been the highlight of the movie.
Speaking in the Indian movie language, masala and commercial aspect to movies is very important but this trend seems to be changing in the upcoming movies. One such movie proving the point is Jai Bhim with it’s beautiful scene in the climax, where Suriya makes Manikandan’s daughter sit right next to him and read the newspaper. This scene was perfect end to the movie finishing it off with a strong note in bold letters that ALL ARE EQUALS and has yet another reference to Ambedkar’s equality principle.
Both Lijomol Jose and Manikandan have nailed their roles with Suriya as a cherry on top. Suriya has steered the movie with his powerful acting and strong dialogues. Also, such strongly messaged movies would have a lag, this movie had it’s motive set and delivered what it had to the right way. Eventhough there were a few deviations and misses from the original incident, this movie surely did justice to its trueness and purpose. Although the storyline was set in ’95, this story still has released in the right ’21 where caste oppression and prejudices still exist. So, yes a must-watch story in the right of times.