Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jeeva: a non brahmin discourse with a feudal touch!

Jeeva, one of the recent popular Tamil feature films is about an aspiring young cricketer. The film deals with his ambition, struggle and the support he gets from his family, friends, coach and many others. He falls in love too. When his time comes he is selected for Tamilnadu Ranji team. But he is rarely given a place in the playing XI. He carries drinks mostly. Brahmin lobby of TN cricket sidelines him. Finally he gets opportunity in CPL, kind of an IPL.
The film has come out in a time when the non brahmins of TN have lost the plot by betraying Periyar, by becoming brutally anti dalit, by continuing to be feudal, by being anti women, by becoming shamelessly corrupt and by eventually becoming part of hindutva forces.
The film's narrative portrays these typical characteristics of the feudal non brahmin male mindset of TN. The film unfairly takes a dig at women in the name of romance and comedy. The hero typicaly drinks at Tasmac bar after the love 'failure'. The film has item numbers which are sexist and vulgar.
Well known Tamil film maker Suseenthiran Nallu who has directed this film "Jeeva" has the way to touch the audience emotionally. There are many interesting sequences. The film is nicely cut. The flow or transition between the sequences is smooth. The director maintains the tempo and curiosity. He has a sense of humor. He seems to have a craft as he has shown in his previous films which are very different from each other. 'Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Azhagarsamyin Kuthirai and Naan Mahaan Alla' are some of his famous films.
In his previous film 'Aathalinal Kaathal Seiveer' the director moralistically ridiculed the way youngsters fall in love when TN was warming up to 'honor killings'. This film 'Jeeva' too carries that insecure feeling of small town men towards upward moving urban women. Being anti women and feudal will not help the cause as it has not helped the non brahmin politics in Taminadu.
I am a cricket lover. I am a non brahmin. I agree with many things the film depicts. Indian cricket especially TN cricket is a brahmin spectacle where others are mere spectators. The film has a brave way of showing people's identities. A Muslim shop owner who sells sports goods help the protaganist. A catholic priest advises the teenage lovers to settle down first as they are too young. One Murugan, a typical non brahmin Tamil man argues for the protagonist during a team selection meeting. Irfan, a Muslim cricketer from Rajasthan finally helps the hero. These are important aspects too.
The highlight is when Ranjit, the friend and opening partner of the hero who eventually kills himself out of frustration argues with Parthasarathy, President of TN cricket about the injustice faced by non brahmin cricketers of Tamilnadu in the hands of ruthless brahmin lobby.
IPL kind of a cricket is shown as a positive choice for many youngsters from small towns, which is in a way true. But how do we understand the blatant commericalisation of IPL? Can we say it is better than total brahminazation of Indian cricket? I am not asking this to the director. These questions came to me while watching the film.
I watched the film in Coimbatore which has a considerable support for Hindutva forces. Audience booed when the Catholic priest advised the lovers. They also enjoyed the sexist jokes. They clapped when the film ended.
Can I say some of the audience question brahmin domination; but they are communal and sexist?
Or should I say popular cinema will always have complications?


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