Protect rights and give hope in Indian democracy

As we celebrate 75 years of Indian independence, this film shows a mirror of our society

Stephanie Thomson, editor at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in an article titled “10 Movies That Changed the World,” said: “A good movie does more than entertain or fill seats in the cinema. It has the power to change hearts and minds – and sometimes society more broadly. “

Jai Bhim is an extraordinary film that captures the attention of society, shakes the human conscience and enchains the faith and hope that we have in democracy, democratic institutions and, indeed, the rule of law. As we celebrate India’s 75 years of independence, Jai Bhim shows a mirror on our society. It pushes the boundaries of filmmaking and connects them, not only to harsh reality, but helps us work in the search for social and institutional transformation to protect the human rights of the most vulnerable.

Usually, films are a compelling source and medium of entertainment, but there are rare occasions when a film transcends the boundaries of entertainment and enters a more difficult world of empowerment, emancipation and empowerment. illumination. Jai Bhim, does it beautifully and successfully with honesty, integrity and humility in storytelling, acting and directing.

The story of Jai Bhim concerns the lives of some of the most marginalized segments of society. Even after 75 years of Indian democracy, their struggles to fight for basic human rights and human dignity continue unabated. The protagonist of the film, in my opinion, is not the family of Senggeni or Rajakannu or any of the other victims of violence in detention. The protagonist is also not Suriya, a quite gifted actor, whose taking on the role of Chandru, a public interest and human rights lawyer was truly exemplary. Few could have done what Suriya did by pursuing this role with much nuance, subtlety and style.

The protagonist in Jai Bhim is “Justice” himself and director Tha Se Gnanavel and lead actor Suriya throughout the films share with us the trials and tribulations of the search for justice.

Jai Bhim is a film that embodies the evolution of Indian democracy and its continued struggles to ensure equality, non-discrimination, protection of human rights, respect for the rule of law, responsibility of the holders of power and, above all, the challenges of seeking justice for poor, marginalized and vulnerable victims. The film convincingly addressed three substantive issues affecting Indian democracy as we celebrate 75 years of democratic governance in India.

Caste discrimination

One of the most difficult issues to discuss in India in any forum is the challenge of caste. It is ubiquitous, ubiquitous and yet everyone is uncomfortable talking about its institutionalized, discriminatory and brutal impact on society as a whole. Jai Bhim is a daring film written, directed and performed with courage and conviction that places the issue of caste at the center of the film’s storytelling, dialogue and conception. It is powerful and yet subtle in terms of portraying the deeply entrenched caste discrimination in our society and how it has acquired the status of Frankenstein’s monster. Jai Bhim has convincingly shown us that we have a long way to go to realize Dr BR Ambedkar’s vision and the promise we made in the Constitution of India: “Article 17. Abolition of untouchability: l untouchability is abolished and its practice in all its forms is prohibited. The execution of any handicap resulting from Untouchability will be a punishable offense in accordance with the law.

Police brutality and violence in detention

Jai Bhim is a film that touches all the nerves of human consciousness. It challenges our basic assumptions of Indian democracy and the promise of establishing a society based on the rule of law. It is a fact that torture is prevalent in penal institutions in India. In an official response to a question posed to Lok Sabha, the Indian government’s Home Office said up to 348 people died and 1,189 were tortured in police custody in 2018-19 and 2020-2021. These data will be much more real because not all cases of torture and violence in detention are reported. But even this data should shock our conscience. The brutality that was inflicted on the three people who were illegally arrested by the police in the film demonstrates the larger problem of policing India. But it also showed the great gap between the rhetoric of law and its reality. There are many judgments of the Supreme Court of India, which have been violated in letter and spirit regarding the arrest, detention, questioning, investigation and all related processes of the characters. of the movie. Jai Bhim, as a film, transcended the contours of the creative imagination and brought us closer to the ugly realities of the inner workings of the criminal justice system. He has not hesitated to show the dysfunctional nature of the criminal justice process or to exaggerate systemic weaknesses and failures. It was the genius of directing and acting that the story struck the perfect balance and left audiences deeply shaken and moved, all reflecting and hoping to seek that elusive justice.

Role and responsibility of the police, lawyers and judges

Jai Bhim, while keeping a tight narrative of the protagonist, “Justice” himself on trial constantly struggled to keep hope alive but was sincere in showing the brutal realities of the police. All actors in the criminal justice system, from the gendarme, the deputy inspector, the police inspector and up to the highest echelons of the police, have shown impunity, indifference and irresponsibility in the face of the need to protect rights and provide justice to the victim. .

Democracy is based on the faith that ordinary people have in its institutions. Law, police and justice are institutions that bind our democratic vision and instill this trust in ordinary people. Jai Bhim ensured that the faith and trust that people should have in democratic institutions was not broken – whether it was the Police IG who drafted an independent report on the death in custody of Rajakannu or ‘elsewhere the distinguished judges of justice who were not convinced by the argument of the Advocate General but were ready to give a long rope to listen to the public interest lawyer, Chandru’s arguments. These are significant acts of courage, hope and justice that will protect the confidence ordinary people have in the functioning of our democratic institutions. Whether it is Rajakannus of India or George Floyds of the world, we have to believe the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he observed: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but he leans towards justice.

Jai Bhim is a classic among the genre of films in India. It should be selected as India’s entry for the Oscars. The film captured audiences’ imaginations in more ways than many would have thought, and hopefully persuaded those in power to generate ideas for reform that can change lives. Jai Bhim also recognized the important role of lawyers and judges in maintaining justice as institutions of justice are the last bastion of hope among victims of crime and abuse to believe in the rule of law to seek justice rather than resorting to violence and challenging our institutions while undermining the existing legal and constitutional order.

Jai Bhim, I think it should be watched by all law students, lawyers, police officers, judges, MPs, MPs and people in public office, in addition to other members of society in general, because the film awakens human consciousness and the inherent sense of justice that is deeply rooted in humanity. The protagonist of the film “Justice” finally wins the battle, but these struggles for justice will have to continue. Jai Bhim did justice to what one of India’s greatest filmmakers, Satyajit Ray, observed: It’s the halftones, the barely audible notes that I want to capture and explore.

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