Miransha Naik’s debut feature, Juze, that centres around migrant workers, who face abuse and violence at the hands of their employers and landlords, in a Goan village was recently screened at the India Habitat Centre, Delhi, as part of the Indian Express Film Club.
Spearheaded by The Indian Express film critic, Shubhra Gupta, the club aims to garner an audience for little celebrated cinematic gems, that further the viewer’s imagination and ignite a dialogue. Juze marked the first screening of a Konkani film for the club.
The emotionally searing 2017 film charts the underbelly of India’s feel-good state and brings to the fore a crisis that is plaguing the globe — that of refugees. “There are so many people who come to this beautiful land for jobs, for a better life. There are a lot of negative feelings for them but there is also the understanding that they are needed for the land. But Goa in this story only serves as an example for what is happening around the globe. The current milieu across the world is that of immigrants and the duality of those whose lands they come to — we want them, we don’t want them; to what extent do we need them. It is important to see this film in that context,” said Prof. Sinclair, who is an erstwhile resident of Goa.
While many drew analogies between the goings-on in Goa and the way migrants are treated in Delhi, Mali Swariya said, “It reminds me of other movies that are themed around feudalism like Ankur by Shyam Benegal. At the end of that film, a child throws a stone at the oppressor’s house and I saw a glimpse of that child in Santosh (Rushikesh Naik, protagonist of the film). These moments of resistance are the weapons of the weak and that makes the characters in this film very strong,” said Swariya.
Pranav Kharbanda, a regular at the film club said, “I am glad that the makers did not show something magical or peddle a false idea of freedom at the end of the film because the elitism shown in this film exists at so many levels in every city, at every step of the way. There is no escaping it.”