Jai Bhim, the Tamil Suriya-starrer that was released on Amazon Prime Video on Tuesday, has been receiving flak from a section of social media users for showing “hate” for the Hindi language in a scene featuring actor Prakash Raj.
Suriya’s 39th film, Jai Bhim is written and directed by TJ Gnanavel. The actor, who also produced the film under his 2D Entertainment banner, plays a lawyer who fights for justice for the people from the Irular tribal community. The film, which deals with topics such as caste inequality and police brutality, is inspired by real events that took place at the Madras High Court. The real-life case was fought by Justice Chandru in the 90s.
While the film opened to largely positive reception, a section of people on social media have called out a particular scene where Prakash Raj (playing a police officer) slaps another character for speaking in Hindi and asks him to speak in Tamil. Many took offence to this scene which, they felt, depicted hatred towards the Hindi language.
Rohit Jaiswal, whose Twitter bio reads ‘Film Critic | Influencer | Trade Analyst‘, said he was “really heartbroken” after watching Jai Bhim and added that the scene “was not needed” and he hopes “they cut it.”
Jaiswal continued in a follow-up tweet, “We wait for Tamil films. We support them, we request the makers to release [them] pan India. In return, we don’t want anything but just love. If not love, then at least not humiliation.”
Meanwhile, another social media user named Arun Pudur, shared clips of the same scene from the original Tamil version as well as the film’s dubbed versions in Hindi and Telugu, and pointed out that while the scene remains the same in Telugu, the Hindi version has the cop telling the other character to “speak the truth” instead of saying, “Speak in Tamil/Telugu.” He added that this “clearly shows there was no need to hate Hindi in Tamil or Telugu versions.”
On the other hand, several others defended the scene and applauded it for bringing attention to the issue of Hindi imposition.
“Actually, the police character has connected all loose ends. He knew the answer. So, he gets frustrated when [the one being interrogated] speaks Hindi just to escape the conversation. Hence this scene. Ethically, this scene may be wrong, but Hindi imposition is horrible here [in Tamil Nadu]. So return gifts,” a social media user named Karthik said in reply to Jaiswal.
The makers of Jai Bhim have not commented on the issue so far.