Saturday, March 12, 2022


Having said that, Kaala is an angrier film on slum lives than Jhund. In fact, Jhund is not that an angry film, unlike his own Sairat and Fandry. Jhund's anger is deceptive. We don’t have Fandry kid hurling stone at the audience. We have Bachchan looking at us, pleading and wanting us to listen. Seemingly, it conforms to the civil notions, subservient to mainstream, as if asking - why not? Why can't the marginalised have the mainstream? Why can't we have DJ on Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti? The social cause of it is only for the wealthy (we see that in the film through a character). Why can't we do an in-film branding when making a film with T-series? Rub your nose on their feet, if you have to, to get what you want. Pa Ranjith might not agree with this milder politics. But for Manjule, want is important. The want to be on the same playing field. You need the ground first to break it. We don't even have that. So do what it takes to get that. But when you get that, own it, win all the matches there. Mind you, we are not even competing for the same football. We have our own tournament, our own slum football association, our own world-cup. 

Which is why, Jhund is a hopeful film. And there's no single major conflict or a face to it. It makes all of the characters heroes. All of them get their victories. Because, again, why not? And while doing that it does want to tell you their struggles. That's the point. Know the struggles, but we will win. It does and how - and while doing so, it makes all the social critique on government, citizenship laws, digital India, Savarna-upper class biased police system. Intercutting what Rinku Rajguru's character goes through to just get an identity letter for her passport, does it more effectively than showing that as just one single sequence. The same upper class oppressor ego conflict and same systemic bias keeps bringing down Don every time he tries to escape his circumstances. But one fine day, both get what they want. Because in mainstream cinema, heroes don't lose and hope is what we have. We have lost enough in reality. Let us win here.

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