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If you are honest answer my 9 questions - Anbumani Ramadoss to Suriya

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 • Tamil Comments
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Suriya's latest movie 'Jai Bhim' that has been released on Amazon Prime Video from November 2nd has gained universal acclaim from critics and viewers.  The film has also become the center of controversy especially those belonging to the Vanniyar community objecting to certain depictions in the story allegedly showing them in poor light.

Anbumani Ramadoss, the youth leader of the Paataali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and a Member of Parliament, has asked Surya and the crew 9 questions about 'Jai Bhim'.  The rough translation of his statement in English from Tamil reads:

"Hello dear actor Surya!

Congratulations on your rise in stature from a young star in the Tamil film industry to now taking on multiple roles as an big actor and producer.  You and your brother Karthi are making your dad proud by your growth in Tamil cinema.

There are reports that the film titled 'Jai Bhim' starring yourself in the lead and directed by TS Gnanavell has caused pain and unrest among the majority community of the Vanniyars in Tamil Nadu. Thousands of people and young people are telling me about the extent to which the Vanniyar community has been deliberately humiliated in the movie.    Your unjust silence on the issue for over a week is what has forced me write this letter. No matter who is involved when repression is unleashed on people it is not acceptable and we must all fight together against it.".

Ramadoss has gone on to point out why the cruel cop in 'Jai Bhim' whose name in real life was Antony Swamy named as Gurumurthy in the film  which is suggestive of a Vanniyar leader.  He has also mentioned about the Vanniyar calender in the cops house which was later removed from the film.

The nine questions are

1. Is ‘Jai Bhim’ really a film based on a real event?

2. If the film is based on a true event, is the location of the actual event the Mudhanai village near Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore district  or Gonamalai village next to Gingee in Villupuram district?

3. Are you aware that the name of the police Sub Inspector who brutally beat to death a tribal youth named Rajakannu from Mudhanai village  was Antony Swamy and why you made the film without such basic knowledge of facts.

4. In the film the real names of Rajakannu, Advocate Chandru and IG Perumal Swamy has been retained .  Then why you changed the name of  Anthony Samy to Guru Murthy and why in the court scenes he is addressed as Guru?

5. Rajakannu's wife Parvathy, who is now living in Chennai has stated in many interviews that her village head and villagers stood by her when her husband was killed.   Why in the film the same people who are Vanniyars shown as casteist fanatics and evil minded.

6.  Why was Agni Kalasam the sacred symbol of the Vanniyar Sangam used in the calendar in a scene when the ruthless police officer is speaking on the phone in his house.

7. There are two types of creators. Those who want to uncover hidden truths and bring justice to the affected people. The second type are those who use the same to raise controversy to make the film run with the publicity. Which type do you belong to?

8. 'Jai Bhim' beam means victory for Ambedkar .... victory for Ambedkar's idealogy. Ambedkar did not teach that any society should be humiliated. But you and your team, who have produced and acted in a film of the same name, are more focused on humiliating the Vanniyars than on bringing justice to the affected people. Is this how you have understood the meaning of 'Jai Bhim'

9. It was only after 28 years that you have come to know about the murder of Rajakannu. However, the PMK was the first to join hands with other parties to fight for justice for Rajakannu. Doctor Ayya (PMK founder Ramadoss) has been waging thousands of struggles for the oppressed people irrespective of caste and religion for the last 42 years . He has been making progress in their lives. Don't you know these facts?

The arts should make people happy. Film, one of the best forms of art, should cultivate the minds of the people .... rather, it should not sow violence. In particular, movies should not denigrate any society. If you want you can make and release a film that compliments your proud gounder community. Rather no one here is given the right to denigrate another society in the name of creative freedom. This is not just for you .... I would like to convey this to all those who want to humiliate another society and feed their casteism.

In recent times, it has become the norm to make films that degrade the Vanniyar community, the majority community in Tamil Nadu. This is not creative freedom .... hateful attitude. This is the first quality that creators should not have.

The fans who give them life are bigger than the creators. If you show your aggression in this movie, they may show their anger when your next movie is released in theaters. None of these are required.

I hope you will be honest with art and your work. If you are sincere and honest, I hope you will answer the questions raised above towards you. Thats the only way the anger of people against you will diminish.  Many thanks."

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