The movie Jai Bhim is in controversy soon after being released on OTT platform Amazon Prime Video for a scene in which a police sub inspector (SI) is seen beating and killing tribal youths from the Irular community. The police SI, the main villain in the movie, belongs to the Vanniyar community. In another scene, a photograph of Vanniyar community’s iconic motif ‘fire’ is seen in the background in a frame featuring the police officer.
The movie is based on real life incidents which happened in the 1990s in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu and the accused police man in the real incident did not belong to Vanniyar community. Many are now alleging that the movie tries to portray the Vanniyar community in bad light.
Soon after the controversy, the director of the movie promised to remove scenes from the film showcasing Vanniyar people as savages in the movie.
Kanmai Gunasekara, writer of vernacular dialogues for the film said, “I have never been involved in Chennai-based cinema. All my life I have been engaged in agriculture, work and writing about rural areas.”
He further added that one of his brothers came to visit him along with four to five people. “One of the persons was introduced to me as a director and another as a journalist by my brother. During our talks they showed interest in my writings,” said Kanmani Gunasekara.
Gunasekara talking about the film Jai Bhim said that the film is based on a true story and the incident had occurred at Kammapuram police station a long time back.
“The film was not named Jai Bhim in the copy shown to me by the filmmakers. The script had biographies. The conversations used were also somewhat the lingua franca of the region. I was asked to make changes in a few places,” added Kanmani.
According to Gunasekara, he did not find anything complicated except for a couple of names used in the screenplay. “They had then told me that they would fix the names. They were not satisfied with my writing. I was paid fifty thousand rupees for the writing related to conversation,” claimed Kanmani Gunasekara.
Kanamani revealed that the producers of the movie selected Villupuram to shoot the dark scene as they believed Kammapuram would not be suitable. “People who saw the movie were happy and they informed me that my name was there in the thanksgiving announcement,” added Kanmani.
He further added that he did not know that the film would become an epicenter of controversy. “I was given very little work in the film. My job was to work on regional dialogues. The copy given to me did not have any symbols including that of Vanniyar. If I had seen those scenes I would have asked them to remove it as they were not at all relevant to the original event or I would have kept myself away from the film,” asserted Kanmani.
He further added that the film would have been much better without the usage of the symbols causing controversy.