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Published on Dec 2, 2014
Marathi poet Nagraj Manjule’s impressive debut feature tells the story of Jabya, a Dalit boy, and his family’s struggle against daily prejudice in their Maharashtra village. Being labeled untouchable does not stop Jabya from dreaming beyond his caste: buying a pair of jeans and longing for the affections of Shalu, an upper caste classmate. Meanwhile, Jabya’s parents focus all their resources on paying for their daughter’s dowry, and worry their son’s continuing defiance is jeopardizing the family’s well-being.
What begins as a carefree look at a child’s desires and antics transforms into an insightful and damning look at caste discrimination. Refusing to reduce its Dalit characters to victims – most explicitly at the film’s explosive conclusion – FANDRY builds from a murmur to a defiant roar.
Manjule’s socially reflective film has received critical acclaim in India and screens for the first time in North America at IFFLA.