'JNU: Jahangir National University' movie review: Blatant propaganda bereft of facts

The film portrays the 2016 JNU sedition row and the events that follow from the right-wing perspective.
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 02:43 IST

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JNU: Jahangir National University
Director:Vinay Sharma
Cast:Siddharth Bodke, Urvashi Rautela, Atul Pandey, Shivjyoti Rajput

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has for decades been India’s premiere institute for humanities. Over the last 10 years, though it has been at the centre of the larger struggle between two contrasting ideas of India, it has retained its academic excellence. Thus, it baffles the audience that one would make a film to showcase one’s visceral hatred for JNU at the cost of facts.
The film chronicles student activism in JNU through the eyes of Saurabh Sharma, a student. The campus is dominated by left-wing organisations. Sharma befriends Akhilesh Pathak and Richa Sharma (Urvashi Rautela), who share his hatred for the left. They clash with Krishna Kumar (Atul Pandey), Saira Rashid (Shivjyoti Rajput) and their comrades, and join the AIVP (ABVP).

The venture pretends to be a work of fiction. However, it’s obvious that the concerned individuals are thinly veiled representations of Kanhaiya Kumar and Sheila Rashid. The film portrays the 2016 JNU sedition row and the events that follow from the right-wing perspective.

Sharma portrays the right’s antipathy for the former PM and the university named after him by repeatedly showing Jawaharlal Nehru’s statue in a derogatory manner. This, despite two of the ruling party’s top ministers (Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar) being alumni of JNU.

By hiding facts of the 2016 sedition case, showing custodial violence against the accused and glorifying police apathy to wide-scale intra-campus violence, the film comes out as blatantly partisan. The constant slurs against religious and sexual minorities make the film downright distasteful. 

The characters are portrayed as black and white. It doesn’t offer much scope for nuanced performances, hence the acting falls flat. The bad editing and poor screenplay add to the mess.

Published 22 June 2024, 02:43 IST

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