(Asian Independent)- It is a matter of gratification to note that every successive year the month of April is dedicated to the greatest son of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar as his birth anniversary falls on April 14. This year yet another dimension was added to the Day – release of Jai Bheem, the first animation film on the life and thought of the icon, Dr. Bheem Rao Ambedkar. Over the year, of late, many films on Babasaheb have been made in various languages by competent film makers and the last in the series was Jai Bhim directed by T.J. Ghanavel released in November, 2021. The Jai Bhim got many good reviews in the social media and, I think, it also received much needed popular acceptance and recognition. The commercial and mainstream media, obviously, expects paid marketing. I am confident that the Jai Bheem – an animation film launched on April 14 in Punjab would not lag behind and would receive its due, if I go by the social media feedback and my personal informal talk with my friend, Satnam Chana – Script, Story and Screenplay Writer and his son, Jassi Chana – Director of the film which has been produced by their associate, Dr. Joginder Singh Bhangalia of UAE.
First on the making of the film – Satnam Chana, a son of the soil from the village Birpind near Nakodar in Jalandhar, is a known and intelligent social and community activist who himself is a staunch Ambedkarite since his student days and his work in the international students movement in Eastern Europe with base in Prague, the capital city of then Czechoslovakia in late 1970s and early 1980s. He is fully qualified and competent to do full justice to the project in hand – Jai Bheem. The services of Dr. Santokh Virdi, a prolific writer and social activist, were handy as a resource person on the facts of the life and thought of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Yet another friend Dr. Lakhwinder Johal of Punjab Press Club chipped in as Adviser in the project and rightly so. The Director of the film, Jassi Chana is a fully qualified and a trained professional in Graphic Designing and Animation having a post-graduate degree from a university of New Zealand. The Producer and financer of the film, Joginder Singh Bhangalia and Sonu Bhangalia, though I don’t know them personally, must be men of dedication to the social and community causes besides their commercial and business interests. Jai Bheem is a product of Pritam Film Production made and presented with high standards of film making with dialogue and narration delivery by the legendary film personally, Reza Murad and dubbing done by Ganesh Divakar of Bollywood. Jai Bheem, as such, is the end product of a highly qualified team.
I was under the impression that Jai Bheem was a film of short duration but no, it is full-fledged movie of about 156 minutes with almost as many scenes. The film touches all important aspects of life and thought of Babasaheb. It is not only an educative movie for the younger generations but also a telling commentary on the struggle and travails of the leader for bring about socio-economic equality and establish a democratic and harmonious social order in the caste ridden society, who is still, unfortunately, side lined and ignored by the main stream of the society. I hope the film would succeed in putting the things in right perspective for the greater good of the country and the society at large. The film tends to strengthen the principles of affirmative action to empower the socially weaker sections of the society on one hand and on the other warns ‘We the people of India’ by depicting the narration in animation format what Dr. Ambedkar said in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 to ward off dangers to our newly gained independence. Some of the scenes of Gandhi-Ambedkar dialogue on matters of concern and interest to the country give us the flavor of role of both the leaders in the much needed political and social reforms in the run up to independence in August, 1947. One of the scenes, Ambedkar ‘s speech t one of Roundtable Conferences in London amply makes it clear, which many of don’t know, that Babasaheb was a nationalist of the first order. Ambedkar’s take on the role of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in the freedom movement is refreshing as many people do not know these details. The scenes pertaining to Babasaheb’s conversion and embracing of Buddhism in 1956 and his regrets and dissatisfaction with the behavior of his own people shared with his Aide, Nanak Chand Rattu, are really thought provoking. One can easily say that Jai Bheem is a film worth seeing and more so by the children and young students. The legacy of Babasaheb is fully potent to take India out of the emerging scenario of hate and distrust. We need to tell our children that our fore-fathers were great people who got us the independence and set us on the path of development with great sacrifices. The films like Jai Bheem would tend to do that job.
Animation having a post-graduate degree from a university of New Zealand. The Producer and financer of the film, Joginder Singh Bhangalia and Sonu Bhangalia, though I don’t know them personally, must be men of dedication to the social and community causes besides their commercial and business interests. Jai Bheem is a product of Pritam Film Production made and presented with high standards of film making with dialogue and narration delivery by the legendary film personally, Reza Murad and dubbing done by Ganesh Divakar of Bollywood. Jai Bheem, as such, is the end product of a highly qualified team.
Satnam Chana and Jassi Chana told me that they were inclined to take up the matters of concern and interest to the community through visual communication like films. Their earlier film ‘Guru Da Banda’ on the life and mission of Baba Banda Bahadur was much acclaimed which also won the PTC Film Award. I wish Jai Bheem also scales those heights. But, obviously, we must understand that people like Satnam Chana, with meager budgets and financial sources, do require much needed and sought after patronage from the civil society and common people. Chana Sahib told me with a sense of satisfaction that educated people mostly service class of the weaker sections of the society gave their wholehearted support and went to theaters to see the movie. General public showed due interest but on ticketing arrangements done by social activists and their organizations. One should not shy away from the ground realities and admit the truth. It seems the general public from the main stream of the society are still to come forward and support the effort. I think they need to think over and leave the traditional bias against Ambedkar and his legacy in the larger interests of the idea of ‘Samrasta’. Mere lip service would not do. Since the film has been released only in Punjab as yet, the Punjab Government should consider and wave the entertainment tax on the film. The Education Department of the Punjab Government may issue a formal or informal advisory to all government and private colleges and schools to arrange special shows of the Jai Bheem for the benefit of young students. The social and cultural organizations like SGPC, RSS among others may advise their cadres and followers to see the movie with a view to learn from the life and struggle of Babasaheb in making our country proud in the run up to attaining a due space and position in the comity of nations. It is demand of the time to meet the challenges before the country. Films and others instruments to spread the thought and legacy of Babasaheb Ambedkar, to my mind, would show us the way to take the caravan forward. PM Narendra Modi in his tributes to Babasaheb on his recent birth anniversary rightly said and rightly underlined, “He (Babasaheb Ambedkar) has made indelible contributions to India’s progress. This is a day to reiterate our commitment to fulfil his dreams for our nation.” Let us see the movie – Jai Bheem as part of the 75th year of our independence – “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” With this I wish Jai Bheem all success in the days to come.