thousands of years India’s Dalits were abhorred as “untouchables” denied
education and treated as bonded labour. By 1923 Bhimrao Ambedkar broke
taboo, won doctorates abroad and fought for the emancipation of his people.
He drafted India’s Constitution, led his followers to discard Hinduism
for Buddhism. His legend still spreads through poetry and song.
In 1997 a statue of Dr. Ambedkar in a Dalit colony in Mumbai was desecrated
with footwear. As angry residents gathered, police opened fire killing 10.
Vilas Ghogre, a leftist poet, hung himself in protest.
‘Jai Bhim Comrade’ shot
over 14 years, follows the poetry and music of people like Vilas and marks
a subaltern tradition
of reason that from the days of the Buddha, has fought superstition and religious bigotry.
2 Trailers on youtube channel "anandverite"
Jai Bim Comrade and JBC (KKM extract)
South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal
Film, Mumbai International Film Festival
Documentary, Hong Kong International Film Festival
Bartok Prize, Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris, France
Jury Award, National Awards, India
on blue links)
"Far reaching, and by
turns pensive and enraging… Jai
Bhim Comrade could be seen as a capstone to Patwardhan's extraordinary
Sukhdev Sandhu, The Guardian, UK
"Legendary director Anand Patwardhan's epic doc about dalit people
is a massive, musical, magnificent, masterpiece"
Mark Cousins, Filmmaker, Critic (Tweet)
more from Mark Cousins in Sight and Sound
"Jai Bhim Comrade was screened at Ramabai Nagar on the eve of the nation’s
63rd year as a Republic. For three and a half hours, over fifteen hundred people
saw the film on a makeshift screen, many standing through its entire duration."
Javed Iqbal, Where the Republic Still Lives
"Anand Patwardhan’s film Jai Bhim Comrade is structured around
the double movement of a paean and an elegy… a repository of a rich and
textured lived social history where caste and class intertwine…Patwardhan’s
forte is his deep immersion in Dalit life, unaffected and sincere, spread over
Saroj Giri, Tehelka
"Patwardhan is easily among India’s most thoughtful filmmakers… Throughout
his long careerhe has challenged the powerful without shouting at them, letting
the power of his images, his irony and his deft cuts speak for him."
Salil Tripathi, Caravan
"Anand Patwardhan has given us landmark documentaries in the past on some of
the burning issues of our times... Jai Bhim Comrade portraying the complex
reality of these nowhere people makes a contribution that is surely worth trillions
Anand Teltumbde, Countercurrents
"A tale of great ugliness, and also of great beauty and power.One of the
most remarkable things about the film, as about most of Patwardhan’s films,
is that it takes no shortcuts, and in fact makes several seeming detours – to
address gender and communalism, for instance – without ever appearing
contrived or effortful.The many questions – disturbing, but also exhilarating
in the radical political possibilities they suggest – stay with you long
after the film is over, much like the haunting melodies of Vilas Ghoghre and
Kavita Krishnan, Liberation
"Above all else, Jai Bhim Comrade is a film about music and poetry – the
music and poetry of those who often have little else. Bursting out of loudspeakers
and drums and one-stringed instruments, riding on the beautiful young voice
of SheetalSathe of the Kabir Kala Manch, soaring over rooftops and narrow streets
in shanties and slums, spurring on an ancient Dalit woman to dance at a midnight
concert, this music cannot be contained. Hopefully, the revolution can’t
be, either. Jai Bhim Comrade."
"He lets his camera do most of the ‘directorial’ talking… at
the same time the director does give his viewers enough credit and breathing
space to make up their minds.Possibly India does not have a big market for
documentaries like the West, but things are certainly changing here. And Patwardhan
has a lot to do with that change."
Manjiri Indurkar, Democratic World
"One important question rang in everyone's mind as they sat stunned watching
a clip from Anand Patwardhan's seminal documentary, Jai Bhim Comrade. Why would
the government of one of the biggest, richest and most populous states of India,
Maharashtra, feel threatened by a rag-tag, seemingly nondescript street music
group - that had neither cut any major record deal nor had any songs go viral
like Kolaveri Di? So threatened and desperate that they sent the best of their
police force, the ATS - Anti Terrorism Squad, after them? The answer stares
at you in the face in Jai Bhim Comrade."
Satyen Bordolai, SIFY
"The film is poignant witness to the end of an era in Maharashtra’s
Dalit politics, defined by the struggle to represent a complex Dalit political
caught between caste-as-labour, and caste-as-identity."
Anupama Rao, Seminar
"It is an epic subject, and in Patwardhan's hands, it receives epic form."
Trisha Gupta, The Sunday Guardian
"On January 9, in the bylanes of Byculla's BIT Chawl, a documentary was
premiered after sundown. A huge white screen ensured that people from the
buildings nearby could also view the film. For over three hours Anand Patwardhan's “Jai
Bhim Comrade” took us on a musical-historical journey… The
spectrum is broad indeed — from a proud song describing the Dalit
who became a barrister, to those that recount the travails of migrant workers
to the city; from lullabies based on the teachings of the Buddha, to naughty
qawaalis that celebrated sexuality equally by men and women".
Priyanka Borupujari, The Hindu
"Garbage, slums, weather-beaten faces talking with pride and anger;
above all full-throated songs recounting the life of BhimraoAmbedkar and
the savagery his followers have faced since Independence in the ‘progressive’ state
of Maharashtra. These are the images that stay with you after watching
Anand Patwardhan’s new documentary Jai Bhim Comrade."
Jyoti Punyani, The Times of India
"Jai Bhim Comrade is the exact opposite of a lazy history student’s
engagement with retelling. Patwardhan documents a history that is not told,
but he doesn’t seem satisfied and also shows the cracks within. It is
not rhetoric, it is never propaganda."
Remembrance of things future, Hardnews
"BIT Chawl, a relatively large chawl, is a short walk from the Police Station
and is home to mostly working-class Marathi-speakers…I had no clue about
what the film was about and I was surprised by the powerful sound system that
was being tuned in preparation for the screening. To avoid getting deaf in
one ear, I found a seat in the middle and that was the best decision of the
evening. Because the film turned out to be a fabulous musical trip."