Plight of the Minority: ‘Jagat’

Plight of the Minority: ‘Jagat’ 1

Follow Appoi’s coming of age journey as he learns lessons of life in the critically acclaimed, award-winning Malaysian made Tamil socio-drama film, ‘Jagat’.

Loosely translated; ‘Jagat’ in Tamil street slang means bad, and director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal captured the essence of real world atrocity including gangsterism, drugs, and oppressions clearly throughout the film.

Plight of the Minority: ‘Jagat’
Award winning director, Shanjhey Kumar Perumal and first assistant director, Kuben Mahadevan at MMU Faculty of Cinematic Arts’s screening of ‘Jagat’

Set in the early 1990’s, the story revolves around the plight of Malaysian Indians, as portrayed by 12-year-old Appoi, his father Maniam and his uncles, Bala who is an ex-drug addict and Dorai, a local gangster.

Unlike most typical local gangster movies that showcase vices as kings, ‘Jagat’ demeans the gangsterism elements and puts it in contrast of family values. Written in linear tandem narratives, the story highlighted the saddening situations that pressured most young Malaysian Indians into gangs; be it poverty, peer pressure or the need for respect.

Being shot 90% in Tamil, the story utilised all three main languages in Malaysia including Cantonese and Malay with English subtitles which helps create a more relatable global story for audiences around the world.

‘Jagat’ featured a lot of underlying themes and family is most evident among all. Rich in moral values, the film inserts comedic relieves here and there, easing the tension of the drama and ultimately keeping people engaged throughout the whole 75 minutes.

Plight of the Minority: ‘Jagat’ 1
‘Jagat’ movie poster

The 52 Film Club of Multimedia University’s Faculty of Cinematic Arts, recently held a public screening of the film at their campus in Educity where it received outstanding turn up. Audiences that night also had a rare chance of Q&A session with both the director and first assistant director of the film.

Shanjhey explained that apart from budget constraints, finding the perfect casts and locations were among the reasons the film was delayed.

“It was not until the day when I went to Perak for a corporate shoot and saw an orphan fighting another that I decided to proceed with the film,” said Shanjhey adding that the same orphan, Harvin Raj was casted to be the main protagonist of the story and later nominated for best actor in the ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards 2017.

‘Jagat’ definitely gives the Malaysian film industry a run for its money.  Go watch the movie if you have the chance as it’s truly worth it.

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