For thousands of years India’s Dalits were abhorred as “untouchables” denied education and treated as bonded labour. By 1923 Bhimrao Ambedkar broke the 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.

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2 Trailers on youtube channel "anandverite"

Jai Bhim Comrade
and JBC (KKM extract)


Best Film, Films South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal

Best Film, Mumbai International Film Festival

Best Documentary, Hong Kong International Film Festival

Bartok Prize, Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris, France

Special Jury Award, National Awards, India


REVIEWS (click on blue links)

"Far reaching, and by turns pensive and enraging… Jai Bhim Comrade could be seen as a capstone to Patwardhan's extraordinary career".

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 14 years."

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 of words."

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 Sheetal Sathe"

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."

Sunalini Kumar

"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 subjectivity 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 three-storeyed 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 all 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."

Mumbai Paused




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