Controversy over 'Jai Bhim': Why are Vanniyars Offended by Actor Suriya's Film?

written by Kirti Pathak | November 17, 2021

The film 'Jai Bhim,' which exposed the injustices suffered by Irular tribes, has sparked debate.

Film critics have hailed Jai Bhim as one of the most important sociopolitical Tamil films of 2021, exposing the structural injustices and cruelties faced by people marginalized by caste in Tamil Nadu.

Jai Bhim Image Source-Google

The tale is based on a true story that occurred in 1993 and the legal battle that ensued. Rajakannu, a member of the Irular tribe, is wrongfully accused of theft, detained, and severely assaulted before dying in police custody in Jai Bhim. The police attempt to conceal the facts, prompting his wife, Sengeni, to go on a search for justice with the help of counsel Chandru. The film explores the heinous treatment of members of the community, who are frequently falsely accused by the police, tortured, and lack even the most basic government documents. While Jai Bhim was well-received, it was also the subject of a debate involving political parties and other groups.

Jai Bhim Image Source-Google

Suriya Sivakumar, an actor from Chennai's T Nagar, has been given police protection at his home. The Vanniyar Sangam, a caste organization for the Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas, a Tamil ethnicity's intermediary and dominating caste section, has filed a legal warning to the actor, who is also the film's producer, for allegedly hurting their sensibilities.

A gang of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) militants barged into a theatre in Mayiladuthurai the day before and violently stopped the screening of Jai Bhim. Panneerselvam, the district secretary, had advertised a prize of Rs 1 lakh for anyone who would attack Suriya if he came to the area. The Vanniyar community argues that the film unfairly represents them.

Jai Bhim Image Source-Google

Here's why Suriya's followers are using the hashtag #WeStandWithSuriya on social media.

After a caste organization in the state claimed that parts of the sequences in Suriya's film, Jai Bhim, are disrespectful to the Vanniyar community, several celebrities, activists, and fans tweeted messages in support of the actor. Suriya, Jyotika, Amazon Prime Video, and director TJ Gnanavel have been served with a court notice requesting an unequivocal apology and the removal of specific parts, according to the state president of the Vanniyar Sangam. Suriya, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, and Rajisha Vijayan star in the legal drama Jai Bhim.

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