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Jai Bhim: Vanniyar Sangam Issues Legal Notice to Makers for Showing Community in Poor Light, Demands Unconditional Apology

Jai Bhim Movie Stills Starring Suriya

Vanniyar Sangam’s state president, Pu Tha Arulmozhi, issued a legal notice on Monday to the makers of Jai Bhim for “criminal and civil defamation,” alleging that the Suriya-starrer shows their community in a poor light.


The organisation has demanded that the makers tender an “unconditional apology,” remove “defamatory scenes” from the film, and also pay Rs 5 crore as damages.

The legal notice names 2D Entertainment, which produced the film; the banner’s founder Suriya and his wife, actor Jyothika; the film’s director TJ Gnanavel; and the platform it is streaming on, Amazon Prime Video.

Jai Bhim, which is Suriya’s 39th film, was released on the OTT platform on November 2. In it, the actor plays a lawyer who fights for justice for people from the Irular tribal community. The film, which deals with topics such as caste inequality and police brutality, is inspired by a real case from the 90s fought by Justice Chandru at the Madras High Court.

The film recently surpassed The Shawshank Redemption (1994) to become the highest-rated movie on IMDB and has opened to largely positive reception. However, it has earned the wrath of the Vanniyar community for featuring a symbol associated with the caste (a fire urn) in a calendar at the house of the antagonist. Though the makers later altered the scene digitally, Anbumani Ramdoss of the political party Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) released a statement questioning why the film had depicted the Vanniyar community in a bad light.

Suriya responded to these allegations and clarified that it was not the makers’ intention to hurt any individual or community.

However, not satisfied with the actor-producer’s response, Arulmozhi has now sent a legal notice to the makers of the film.

The notice, which was accessed by Silverscreen India, states that makers of Jai Bhim have “included the scenes with a view to create communal disharmony” between the Vanniyar community and others. It further claims that their “irresponsible depiction” of the community in a “poor light” is deliberate.

With regard to the contentious calendar scene and the naming of the antagonist police character as Gurumoorthy, the notice points out that the fire urn is a “sacred symbol” for the Vanniyars and the name ‘Guru’ resembles that of “one of the frontline leaders” of the Vanniyar Sangam.

The real name of the inspector involved in the incident, a Christian, was Anthonysamy as opposed to Guru, the notice further states. While other characters have been named after the real persons in the case, the film has deliberately named the “wicked person, a wrong doer” Guru to project him as belonging to the Vanniyar community “thereby imputing that the members of the community are prone to commit wrong and illegal things,” the notice adds.


Calling this a “deliberate attempt” to create “a false impression in the minds of the viewers,” the notice calls upon the makers of Jai Bhim to take four measures:

  1. Remove the alleged defamatory scenes and symbols denoting the community from the film.
  2. Tender an “unconditional apology” in newspapers and social media within 24 hours of receipt of the notice.
  3. Immediately cease and desist from “making or publishing anymore false, malicious and defamatory remarks” against the community and its people.”
  4. Pay damages of Rs 5 crore within a period of seven days from the date of the notice.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, advocate Babu, who sent the notice on the organisation’s behalf, said, “The calendar and the name offend the community as a whole. After Anbumani Ramadoss’ letter, the makers have not expressed regret or apologised. The name has also not been changed so far.”

The makers of Jai Bhim are yet to respond to the notice.

In the meantime, members of PMK stopped a screening of Suriya’s 2007 film Vel at Pearless Theatre in Mayiladuthurai on Sunday. According to The New Indian Express, PMK cadre along with the party’s district secretary Sittamalli A Palanisamy forced the theatre management to stop the screening. Subsequent shows of the film were also pulled. The report adds that PMK cadres also submitted a petition to Mayiladuthurai SP G Suguna Singh to arrest Suriya.

In addition, Palanisamy also announced a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who assaults the actor during his visit to the district.

This is not the only controversy Jai Bhim has been embroiled in. Recently, members of the Kuravar community staged a protest in front of Suriya’s house alleging that the film showed their community in a bad light. Earlier, a scene featuring Prakash Raj’s character slapping another for speaking in Hindi also faced backlash on social media.


Meanwhile, Suriya, who has been receiving praise from many quarters for making Jai Bhim, thanked politician Thol Thirumavalavan for appreciating the film. Also, many, including filmmaker Pa Ranjith, have expressed their support for the actor in this issue using the hashtag ‘#WeStandWithSuriya‘, which has been trending on Twitter. On Sunday, the actor announced that he would deposit Rs 10 lakh in the name of Parvati, whose real-life events inspired the film.