Actor Prakash Raj has reacted to the controversy over a scene in his recently released film Jai Bhim where his character slaps a person for dodging a question asked in Tamil and replying in Hindi. The scene has earned stiff opposition from a section of the audience. Prakash essayed the role of a police officer in Jai Bhim.
Jai Bhim is based on some real events about the fight of a lawyer for the oppressed people of a tribal community. It features actor Suriya as the lawyer in the movie. Directed by TJ Gnanavel, the film also star Rao Ramesh, Rajisha Vijayan, Manikandan, and Lijo Mol Jose in pivotal roles.
Speaking about the slapping row, Prakash Raj told News9live, “After watching a film like Jai Bhim, they did not see the agony of the tribal people, they did not see and feel terrible about the injustice, they saw only the slap. That is all they understood; this exposes their agenda.”
Elaborating on his response, he said that some things, like the anger of South Indians on Hindi being forced on them, have to be documented. He also said, “How else will a police officer who is investigating a case react when he knows that a person who knows the local language chooses to speak in Hindi to dodge questioning? That has to be documented, right?”
Jai Bhim talks about the state of the oppressed, and even though the story takes place in 1995, the film points out how even today nothing much has changed when it comes to the lives of these people. The film also talks about police brutality and custodial deaths.
In its review of Jai Bhim, Hindustan Times wrote, “In Jai Bhim, men in khaki rule with power, and nobody can escape from the clutches of the system they have manufactured. And within the system, the power ranges from the high-ranking officials to those lowest in the hierarchy. An inspector can’t question his superior when asked to do something and there’s no right or wrong in the way it’s done. The film is an honest on these powerful men and how they abuse this power to get anything done.”