Life is not a bed of roses, it has thorns too and a part of the society has got nothing but the thorns. Nagraj Manjule’s ‘Jhund’ brings forward the section of the society that doesn’t even have a football to play with and uses plastic buckets as a ball. On the other hand, another section of society has saved punctured footballs in the cupboard. There is a real-life struggle in the slums for survival and meeting your ends. Most of us might look at them as shabby and nasty people who are addicted to drugs and who do odd illegal activities but hardly anyone finds the reason behind it. Poverty and lack of opportunities is the sole reason for their behaviour.
This movie is inspired by the real-life story of Vijay Barse who launched the concept of slum soccer and took steps for the upliftment of slum kids through football. This social drama talks about the faults and failures of society as a whole and how we need to bridge this social gap. The scenes are raw and realistic with the camera capturing the pain and anguish in the eyes of the lower caste who are tired of fighting against the suppression.
The biggest strength of the movie is casting non-actors and that created all the realism, the movie needed. Full of metaphors and symbolism, the movie depicts a wall and an iron gate that separates the slum from a posh school showcasing the social difference between the two. The scene where Ankush pleads for a ball in front of Bachchan is heartbreaking. The pain in his eyes and only chance to level the ground with the so-called society is hard-hitting. Also, when the slum team had to prove their identity as Indians but didn’t have any documents, it takes us to real-life conditions of these slum dwellers who are least interested in politics, changing norms, new laws, etc, are just striving to fight hunger. However, Bachchan’s courtroom monologue feels repetitive and unnecessary. We have seen him engaging in a lot of courtroom drama earlier. Hence, it took the very essence of the film for a while making it overdramatic.
‘Jhund’ is not a typical biographical, sports drama but the metaphors and symbolism hit hard.
Jhund is currently streaming on Zee 5.