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Jignesh Mevani: ‘I Was A Kabali Before. I Am A Kaala Now’

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Jignesh Mevani is all praise for Pa Ranjith’s Kaala – a film he calls a ‘brilliant cultural response’ to Brahminical ideologies. The politician says that while Kaala’s aesthetics may not be great, it must nevertheless be lauded for its attempt to portray the lives of the Dalit working class. In an op-ed piece for The Print, Mevani writes:

Our cinema has been badly affected by the post-globalisation era. After the 1990s, we hardly get to see a working class hero, a chawl, a basti, or the plight of a working widow. In this context, films like Kaala come as a relief.

For the Dalit masses who are ‘invisibilised’ in media, Kaala becomes appealing as it shows symbols and imagery they can relate to.

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It is refreshing to see a ‘working-class hero after years of NRI-style protagonists’. Mevani says that the most poignant thing about the film was the way director Pa Ranjith subverted stereotypes in the film.

Take for instance the mythological character of Ram: even as most of the people in this country call him a ‘Bhagwan’, other accounts have also contested that he was a killer of Shambuk, who was a shudra. Meanwhile, Ravan is held as a hero for many shudras. Kaala subverts the narrative of Ram and hails Ravan as a leader of the exploited masses.

Jignesh states that to be ‘kaala’ (black) is to have known struggle and that it is time to reclaim being ‘kaala’. Mevani added that his friends told him that he was their Kaala after watching the film.

I used to be a Kabali a couple of years ago, and now I am a Kaala. A lot of Dalit activists and progressive forces will watch this film and see a Kaala within them too.

Kaala released on June 7. The film follows Karikalan (Rajinikanth) as he tries to protect the interests of his people against Nana Patekar’s Hari Dada.

 

Image Courtesy: Indian Express 

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