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Friday, March 31, 2023

Time For a Dalit Revolution in the Indian Cinema?

Movies like Jai Bhim and Jhund are part of a new movement in Indian cinema where a number of filmmakers are narrating stories of repression against Dalits

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Prachi Pisal
Prachi Pisal
Journalism student, covering India.

INDIA: Recently released Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Jhund’, a Hindi movie, directed by Nagraj Manjule, received an extraordinary amount of appreciation, from critics and the audience.

In this article, let us have a look at the representation of Dalits in Indian cinema.


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Jhund is based on the life of Vijay Barse, a social worker from Nagpur, Maharashtra (a state in India). He established Slum Soccer, an organization helping children to find a better way to live, through Football. Amitabh Bachchan starrer doesn’t specifically represent any of the crises around the Dalit community, just from the casteist point of view, but it endorses a normalization and equality, through truly disregarded aspects. Moreover, the huge recognition of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar steals the show.

Director of the movie Jhund, Nagraj Manjule himself belongs to a Dalit community. Mr. Manjule has directed some sensational Marathi movies, like Fandry, Sairat, and Naal; Sairat was a breakthrough in his directing career. Sairat is a Marathi movie based on the rigorous casteism obstructing the lives of two lovers in several ways. Sairat achieved enormous success with logical, atypical stories and moving music.

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Besides, Sairat could have captured a much more audience, if the film was made or dubbed in multiple languages. Mr. Manjule’s other film Fandry too, described the harsh casteism, in Indian society. 

Jai Bhim

 Jai Bhim, a Tamil movie, directed by TJ Gnanavel and produced by Tamil superstar Suriya and his wife, an exceptional actor Jyothika, is based on a true event in 1995, a case fought by Justice K Chandru, involving a matter of police prejudice and state violence against a disregarded community.

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Released in November 2021, the film has received an IMDb audience rating of 9.4/10. The critically acclaimed Tamil film was dubbed in Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada languages, starring Suriya as a lead. Jai Bhim brought utterly disregarded authenticity on the screen.

The film made a huge impact across the world, as it was selected among the 276 films eligible for nomination at the 94th Academy Awards, but failed to make it to the final nominations. 

Moreover, Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Article 15, a Hindi movie represents caste discrimination uniquely, with an uncommon and overlooked kind of story, certainly. The movie was released in 2019 and received huge applause from critics and audiences too. 

So, it is not that there haven’t been films, drawing attention to these kinds of concerns; there have been several, but the volume of audience they captured was incredibly short, compared to the Jhund or Jai Bhim. 

What makes Jhund and Jai Bhim distinct is versatile actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Suriya; representing the troubles of oppressed individuals, because portraying these varieties of characters by the widely admired actors like them, is rare in the Indian cinema. 

Furthermore, there has been a lot of conversation on how the Indian cinema industry portrays the Dalit community, through cinema; which powered these kinds of movies on at the big stage. These films become more important, as now they are setting a standard of the cinema, at new levels.

Besides, we know that a film cannot change the world, but it can inspire many, to change one.

Also Read: The Batman: Paul Dano to Inscribe on the Prequel Comic Which Will Showcase the Origin of Riddler


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