Producers- Suriya and Jyothika
Director- T. S. Gnanavel
Star Cast- Suriya, Lijomol Jose, Prakash Raj, Manikandan and Rajisha Vijayan
OTT Platform- Amazon Prime Video from November 2
Rating- **** (Four)
The very opening sequence prepares you for what’s in store ahead, in terms of its content ahead, by giving the viewer goose bumps instantly.
The film is inspired by the life and times of Justice Chandru who fought for the human rights issues of marginalized people without caring to amass money as a lawyer.
The film revolves around Rajakannu (Manikandan) and Sengeni (Lijomol Jose) who belong to the lowly Irular tribe and 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, go and seek the easy way out and instantly frame Rajakannu.
Since Rajakannu is off to another village for work, the police under mounting political pressure nab his wife Sengeni and his relatives till they can catch him.
The plot has more to chill you. Sengeni and the relatives are put through the crude custodial torture.
When Rajakannu arrives at his village, he is beaten to a pulp and taken to jail along with the two relatives, and tortured every day.
One day, the police claim they have escaped from jail. A pregnant Sengeni then approaches Chandru (Suriya) to help her find her husband and relatives.
The grim tale has flashes of Vetri Maaran’s Visaranai and Mari Selvaraj’s Pariyerum Perumal.
The story, set in 1995, is based on a real-life incident and is indeed a tight slap across our faces that two decades later also these incidents occur in rapid succession like in the recent case in Tuticorin, making us wonder at what cost we have gained freedom when the marginalized community whether in Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra are still suffering from police atrocity and subjected to brutality.
Suriya deserves the cake for letting Lijomol Jose overpower him in certain scenes, though he is not only the producer of the film but also the leading man in one sense, unlike Jyothika who is films starring her and also produced by her casts her in the major role as the cost of the other supporting actors.
It is indeed very encouraging to see Suriya continue to back narratives that steer away from being the commercial hero-centric template and also signals a secure actor and star who doesn’t shy away from his steadfast commitment to cinema as well as the society.
The entire credit for shouldering the entire film on her shoulders ought to go to Lisa Lijomol for extracting tears out of our eyes with her powerful portrayal of the victim of police brutality.
Manikandan gets into the skin of his role as Rajakannu effortlessly and at times it is difficult to believe whether it is Rajakannu or Manikandan.
Prakash Raj as the positive cop properly underplays his role with finesse and wins our hearts. As Maithra, Rajisha Vijayan scores though she has hardly any scenes for herself
What I liked the best about this film is that it also thankfully avoids forcing a romantic relationship between Chandru and Maithra .
95% in Tamil mainstream Cinema, the main reason to have a female character is still to play the love interest to the hero and hence in most of the films, her importance to the story becomes less important. It is refreshing to see a star like Suriya sidestep this.
To sum up, a film like Jai Bhim though almost 2.45 minutes long as far as its duration is concerned, is a realistic film which does not bore you to death like often documentaries do but keeps you hooked and is bound to win not only awards and accolades but also the National awards. It is a triumph for Amazon Prime Video as well as producers Suriya and Jyothika