Jai Bhim Comrade. 2011. India. Directed by Anand Patwardhan. In Marathi, Hindi; English subtitles. 169 min.
Over his 47-year career, Anand Patwardhan (b.1950) has secured a reputation as one of India’s most independent, fearless filmmakers—one for whom cinema is a form of political engagement. In his award-winning documentary Jai Bhim Comrade, the 1997 police shooting of Dalits (formerly branded “untouchables”) at Ramabai Colony in Mumbai triggers a narrative about caste discrimination in contemporary India set against the modern legacy of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the 20th-century reformer and legal scholar who also drafted India’s constitution. Shot over 14 years, Jai Bhim Comrade examines the persistent social and legal persecution of Dalit communities, as well as the poetry and music of Dalit resistance.