The courtroom drama is based on true events.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Netizens were shocked and delighted to hear that Jai Bhim (2021), a previously-unknown Tamil-language film that was released exclusively on Amazon Prime on 2nd November, had become the highest-rated film on IMDb, with over 111,000 votes and counting. Currently sitting at a whopping 9.6/10 rating, the courtroom drama, which is based on events that occurred in 1993, has overtaken cult classics such as The Godfather (1972), currently at 9.2/10; and The Shawshank Redemption (1994), the previous title holder at 9.3/10. A small caveat, however, is that on IMDb’s official ‘Top Rated Movies’ list, the film sits at #120, as the ranking is based on a formula that includes the number of ratings from users (The Shawshank Redemption, for example, has 2.5 million voters), with special weighting given to regular voters.
Hailed as a “win for Tamil cinema,” the film has garnered both critical and public acclaim, despite what some have considered a hard-hitting and controversial topic. It follows a 1993 court case involving a couple from a marginalised tribal community, many of whom are still considered among the lowest castes in India. In the film, Rajakannu (K. Manikandan), the husband, is falsely accused of a crime by corrupt police, and subsequently escapes after being arrested and tortured. His wife Sengani (Lijomol Jose) turns to a human rights lawyer, Chandru, masterfully played by Suriya, who is determined to see justice done, despite the apathy and even antipathy by many in the country. Actor Siddharth, who is also in the film, praised how it raised awareness of the “oppression to the marginalised Irular tribes,” despite Vanniyar Sangam sending a legal notice to Suriya, the director, TJ Gnanavel, and Amazon Prime Video, for “defaming the Vanniyar community.”
The film can be streamed on Amazon, and you can watch the Hindi trailer, with English subtitles, here.