Jai Bhim : Suriya's hard-hitting tale about caste injustice and police brutality
Director Tha Se Gnanavel’s Jai Bhim, starring Suriya, Lijomol Jose, and Manikandan, is a gut-wrenching tale of police brutality. The film makes you shudder at the injustice meted out to the Irular community.
In Jai Bhim's first frame, over a dozen people are released from prison. Outside the jail, an officer asks them the caste they belong to. He sends the upper-caste people (Goundar and Vanniyar) back home. But, those from the Kuravar and Irular tribes are made to stand aside. A group of policemen eye them only to put false cases on them. The reason? They belong to a lower caste, have no money and are treated like orphans.
It hits you hard. The first sequence preps you for what’s going to come ahead. Rajakannu (a brilliant Manikandan) and Sengeni (an exceptional Lijomol Jose) belong to the Irular tribe. They do petty jobs to earn their living. One day, a robbery happens at a local politician’s house. The police, instead of looking for clues, want to take the easy way out and frame Rajakannu. He, however, is off to another village for work, so the police nab his wife Sengeni and his relatives till they could catch him.
Inside the local prison, Rajakannu’s wife and relatives are put through custodial torture. Rajakannu is unaware of all this and when he arrives at his village, he is beaten to a pulp and taken to jail. He, along with two of his relatives, are tortured every day, until one day, the police claim they escaped from jail. A pregnant Sengeni then approaches Chandru (Suriya) to help her find her husband and relatives.
Director Tha Se Gnanavel deserves a standing ovation for Jai Bhim. Considering the present situation in India, Jai Bhim comes as a hard-hitting tale not just about the Irular community but also about every marginalised community across India. Without glorifying unnecessary elements, Gnanavel has dealt with this script with utmost sensibility.
Suriya has delivered a knock-out performance as lawyer Chandru who fights human rights cases. When he says he is fighting against the government, we understand the intensity. Right from the cops to politicians to judges, people in the film do not care about the agony they have caused or about the lives lost over superiority and caste. Suriya's Chandru also says that the court’s deafening silence is a bigger punishment than what they have already gone through. It is not just limited to the court, but also bystanders like us.
As Rajakannu and Sengeni, Manikandan and Lijomol Jose, respectively, take you into their world. When they romance, you feel the genuineness. When they cry, you feel their pain.
Jai Bhim shows how caste discrimination and injustice kill people. Jai Bhim is a film that also talks about the lack of humanity. Jai Bhim is a must-watch for its hard-hitting content and its ideologies.
Jai Bhim is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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