Critic’s Rating : 3.5 / 5
Jana Gana Mana Movie Review : Unveiling the politics of fake encounters
Review: Cold-blooded murders masked as police encounters aren’t a novelty in our country, and such are also often glorified as ‘instant justice.’ In Dijo Jose Antony’s Jana Gana Mana, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu in the lead, the makers show why and how fake encounters are doing a disservice to the society and how politicians manipulate our ‘emotions’ through the same.
Professor Saba Mariam (Mamta Mohandas) is found dead and the media reports that her body was burnt after rape. Police officer Sajjan Kumar (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is on a mission to book those behind the act and nabs four suspects too. They hardly make it easy for him to proceed with the investigation and the involvement of politicians only makes it tougher. What Sajjan resorts to at one stage of the investigation, forms the trigger for the rest of the story.
The film is definitely influenced by many real-life incidents, especially the 2019 Hyderabad gang rape case and the ‘extrajudicial execution’ that followed the incident. It shows what exactly is the problem with the police breaking the law through these actions, how each of us are conditioned to pass judgements on people merely based on how they look or what they wear, the misplaced public sentiments in favour of such executions and why they shouldn’t be celebrated… all of them, through a well-knit story. Political parties have long been using police vigilantism as a tool to manipulate people’s emotions and bank on them to gain votes, and it needs to be appreciated how a mainstream Malayalam movie, starring top actors, is discussing the issue in an engaging manner. Both Suraj and Prithviraj Sukumaran have done abundant justice to their respective roles, and the crew behind the film also deserves applause aplenty, for boldly narrating such a relevant story on screen. If a rape happens in this country every 15 minutes and we are only shocked about just a few of them, who is to be blamed? Why does someone’s death matter more than someone else’s? The movie explains well why we react how we do, and the hypocrisy behind it.
While watching such an engaging movie, however, it was difficult to not notice the extremely poor quality of the Malayalam subtitles that were run in the theatre, filled with spelling mistakes to titles that aren’t in sync with the proceedings on the screen. If it is something that can be corrected in the upcoming screenings, the least, it should help the movie a lot more, as there are many non-Malayalam dialogues in it.
Those who love a good political crime thriller inspired from real-life incidents can feast on Jana Gana Mana, that teaches you to think, question, challenge and more as a common man who consumes news at its face value.