November 17, 2021 12:41:43 pm
Suriya’s latest film Jai Bhim continues to garner strong reactions from different sections of society. While many have lauded the film for shedding light on a marginalised community and systemic injustices committed against it, some have taken exception to it.
PMK party leader and former Union minister Anbumani Ramadoss is leading the attack against Jai Bhim, alleging that certain scenes in the film have hurt the sentiments of the Vanniyar community. The Vanniyar Sangam, meanwhile, has sent a legal notice to Suriya, who is also the producer of the film, demanding Rs 5 crore in damages.
As the film is snowballing into a political debate, the members of the Tamil film fraternity have overwhelmingly thrown their weight behind Suriya. “No one can be made to feel lesser for doing the right thing#Jaibheem. Suriya is one star who is redefining stardom,” tweeted director Vetrimaaran, who is known for making movies on social injustice and the caste system.
“The commitment of director TJ Gnanavel to make this film to let the world know the plight of the victims and Suriya’s constant efforts towards social injustice on and offscreen is truly inspiring. #JaiBheem. It’s only natural these films cause angst among those who don’t want the status quo to change. #WeStandWithSuriya. Films that questions the inequalities and injustices of a society too are weapons towards social justice. We stand by the whole team of #Jaibheem (sic),” added Vetrimaaran, who has also faced some heat in the past for his award-winning film Asuran.
Amid the political opposition to Jai Bhim, the hashtag #WeStandWithSuriya is dominating social media as many Kollywood celebrities and fans continue to express solidarity with Suriya. Filmmakers Pa Ranjith, Lokesh Kanagaraj, Venkat Prabhu, C. S. Amudhan and actors Prakash Raj, Sathyaraj, Siddharth are among those who have publicly spoken up in favour of Suriya.
Top Tamil film associations, including the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, the Tamil Film Active Producers Association and the Nadigar Sangam, have also objected to the attacks against Suriya.
“Jai Bhim is one such creation that is part of efforts to instigate social change. Terming Suriya as someone who is against positive change in society or encouraging violence against him, is wrong and sets the wrong example. The best thing to do would be to let art stand for itself without infringing the artistic freedom of the filmmakers. If this trend continues, filmmakers will have to wait outside the houses of politicians to seek their approval before shooting a film,” said senior filmmaker Bharathiraja, who is also the president of Tamil Film Active Producers Association.
Earlier, reacting to an open letter by Anbumani Ramadoss, Suriya had requested not to dilute Jai Bhim by turning it into a name-politics, adding that he has no intention to gain publicity by insulting any community. “No one from the film had any intention to insult any caste or community as you had mentioned in your letter. I think you will remember that we have rectified even the small flaw pointed out by a few people. I agree with your statement in your letter that no one has the right to hurt any community in the name of freedom of expression. In the same manner, I believe you will agree that freedom of expression must always be protected from attacks,” Suriya had said in his statement.
Jai Bhim is inspired by a real-life pro-bono human rights case fought by retired Madras High Court judge K Chandru, when he was an advocate at the same court. The film was released to an overwhelmingly positive response on Amazon Prime Video earlier this month
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