Actor Prakash Raj responded to the controversy surrounding a scene in Jai Bhim where his character slaps a person for not speaking in Hindi by saying that people only saw the slap and not the agony of the tribal people.
In an interview with News9, the actor said, “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”.
In the scene, Prakash Raj, who plays a police officer, slaps a character for speaking in Hindi and tells him to talk in Tamil. After the film’s release, several people took to social media to express their displeasure as they felt that the scene was offensive and spread hatred towards Hindi.
Explaining the relevance of this scene, he 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? The film is set in the 1990s. If that character had Hindi imposed on him, he would have reacted this way only. Probably if it came across as more intense, it is also because that is my thought too, and I stand by that thought.”
He also added that people were not necessarily angry with the scene but rather with him. “They appear more naked than me now, because their intent has been revealed…There’s no point reacting to such bigots,” he said.
Jai Bhim was released on Amazon Prime Video on November 2 and received largely positive responses from critics. Directed by TJ Gnanavel, the film stars Suriya as a lawyer who fights for justice for people from the Irular tribal community. Jai Bhim is based on a real-life case fought by retired Madras High Court Judge K Chandru.