Review: Jai Bhim

Director Tha Se Gnanavel’s Jai Bhim is a gripping, hard-hitting court room drama that is likely to win awards for its incredibly strong content that leaves you overwhelmed by the time you are done watching it.

Film : Jai Bhim
Director: Tha Se Gnanavel
Cast: Suriya, Lijo Mol Jose, Manikandan, Rajisha Vijayan, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, Guru Somasundaram, Sibi Thomas and others
Music: Sean Roldan
Cinematography: S R Kadhir
Editor: Philomin Raj
Production House: 2 D Entertainment

Rating: 4.5 stars

Director Tha Se Gnanavel’s Jai Bhim is a gripping, hard-hitting court room drama that is based on a real life incident that occurred in the state of Tamil Nadu in the year 1995.

It stands out for more reasons than one and is likely to gather awards across regions for its incredibly strong content that leaves you overwhelmed by the time you are done watching it.

The film, in my book, is a classic. It terrifies, testifies, inspires and makes you weep, all in a span of two hours and forty five minutes.

The film is so engrossing that you don’t realise that this is almost a three hour affair. So intense is the screenplay and so meaningful the dialogues that you cannot but devote your entire attention to what is happening on screen from the minute the film starts.

The film tells the story of Rajakannu and Sengkani, an honest tribal couple, whose lives are shattered by the arrogance of policemen, drunk on power.

The couple lead a peaceful, content life until one day Rajakannu is suspected of theft and picked up for interrogation by the policemen, who don’t have a shred of evidence against him or his associates. The cops have no interest in catching the real criminal. The cops believe they can frame the crime on these harmless, defenceless poor people. They believe they can force Rajakannu and two of his associates to take responsibility for a crime they did not commit, if they bully them hard enough. So, they resort to third degree methods to extract a confession.

Meanwhile, Rajakannu’s pregnant wife Sengkani is in a state of terror and trauma. Terror at what the cops will do to her and her husband and trauma at the unbearable levels of pain her husband is being subjected to, for no fault of his, at the police station.

The pain reaches a pinnacle when the policemen suddenly claim that her husband and his associates have escaped. Helpless and heartbroken, Sengkani is devastated. It is then that help arrives in the form of advocate Chandru, a fearless lawyer with a compassionate heart.How he helps Sengkani get justice is what the film is all about.

The story is based on a case that justice Chandru, a legal stalwart, argued as a lawyer.

Director Tha Se Gnanavel seems to have left no stone unturned to make sure that his film is as close to the actual events that occurred. There are no glorifying dialogues, no punch dialogues, no hero worshipping sequences or fight sequences. The film is a realistic and powerful representation of what the downtrodden experience and how the courts have been a source of relief for them.

It is not just the story that makes a film great. Its narration and the performances of its cast are what go on to define it.

In Jai Bhim’s case, be it the story, its narration or the performances of its cast –everything is perfect. The film has some mindblowing performances coming from Suriya, Lijo Mol Jose and Manikandan in particular.

Suriya as advocate Chandru is just magnificient. Fierce, confident, knowledgeable and helpful, Suriya simply rules. His performance is so commanding that it inspires.

Lijo Mol Jose as Sengani is amazing. She literally blends so much into the character of Sengkani that you can’t find Lijo Mol on screen even if you make a conscious effort to look for her. So perfect is the make up and the expressions so apt that all that one can see on screen is Sengani.

Manikandan as Rajakannu comes up with a mind-blowing performance as well. Be it the scenes in which he is seen hunting mice or the scenes in which he is tortured, the man is just outstanding!

The performances of Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh and Rajisha Vijayan also add immense value to the film.

Sean Roldan’s music is magical. It mesmerises in romantic sequences and inspires in sequences when the poor and defenceless fight back. Jai Bhim is definitely another feather in Sean Roldan’s cap.

Cinematographer S R Kadhir’s camera masterfully records the intense story as it happens and Philomin Raj skillfully trims the film to keep it so engaging that you don’t realise it is a two and a half hour film.

Jai Bhim is, in my book, a classic and a must watch!