Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s new film, ‘Jhund,’ is founded on the inspiring true tale of Nagpur-based Vijay Barse, who bent Shantytown Soccer, an NGO that works untiringly with slum broods. Because Manjule is also the molding director, the faces are real, unlike in many Bollywood films where players wear brown face to blend in with their surrounds. As the camera traces the sorrow in Ankush Mashram’s eyes, it remains raw and authentic. At the same time, it gives the Dalit hero a stirring background sound that is usually reserved for upper-class protagonists in popular Hindi cinema. The film got a theatrical release on 4th March 2022 and is now set to be released on May 6, 2022, on ZEE5.
Vijay Borade is a professor at Nagpur’s St John’s College, which is located near a large slum. During the rains, Vijay notices several slum kids playing football with a plastic can. He comes to the conclusion that the young people in the slum have turned to drugs and crime as a way of life. As a result, he gives them a football and instructs them to play every day for 500 rupees. They do it for the money at first, but after a while, they become addicted to the game and begin to play for fun. Later, he organises a national slum football competition in Nagpur, which leads to an invitation to assemble a squad and represent India in an international slum football tournament.
Director Manjule was inspired by Vijay Barse, who created the slum soccer competition in Nagpur two decades ago with the goal of rehabilitating slum youngsters. When he was included in Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate, his work got national attention. Manjule has made up the events that led to the foundation of a slum football squad and, eventually, the competition. He constructs, or rather, reflects a universe that is centred in the heart of duplexes, a prominent college, and its immaculate football field. It’s a slum in the heart of the city with a ground that’s being used as a wasteland.
The scene in Jhund where each member of the team introduces himself to Vijay is the most moving in the film. Their backstories all have a thread of violence and child abuse running through them. They’ve given up on themselves, and it’s clear that football serves as a catalyst for transformation. The majority of the actors were chosen from the streets and gave true-to-life performances. Bachchan continues to be our gold standard in acting, as evidenced by his performance in this film. The football choreography is fantastic, and it creates the feeling that you’re watching a game on a large screen. Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s immersive cinematography adds to the film’s charm.
The Jhund movie craves your attention, and once you give it to it, there’s no turning back. Amitabh Bachchan is phenomenal, Nagraj Manjule is fantastic, and the film is just brilliant.