Jhund is the Bollywood debut of social realism based Marathi film Sairaat fame Nagraj Manjule. The movie is an inspiration from the journey of Vijay Barse, a retired sports professor from Nagpur who invests his time and life savings to coach slum youngsters in football with a hope to transform their lives.
The place where most of the action of the film takes place has a gate. The gate was meant to prevent people from the adjoining slum from going in the opposite direction where educated and rich families live. The image indicates the territory the film is moving into.
Director Nagraj Popatrao Manjule's movie goes beyond the trajectory of being a typical sports biopic. The film could be a statement on what must be done, as a society, to help the marginalised cross the border of relentless poverty to stride towards a better future.
The film begins at a modest pace. Vijay Barse is on the verge of retirement from the job as a sports professor at the college but is still in no mood to hang up his boots. He gets motivated to make a team of lower caste slum children. Many of them live in extreme poverty, and some are even drug addicts.
He begins to teach them by giving them some money. He aims to slowly distract them from their lives which are riddled with guilt and dependence. What happens to them and how successful Vijay is are answered in the entire movie.
Amitabh Bachchan plays Vijay Barse's role, a retired sports professor. He has good command over every scene but never dominates over the other cast. Rinku Rajguru (Monica) and Akash Thosar we saw in Nagraj's Sairat provide support to the film. They give solid performances despite the short screen time.
What catches your attention are non-veterans who are not acting but being. Ankush Gedam as 'Ankush Don' is especially good.
The movie is set in the streets of Nagpur, shot brilliantly by cinematographer Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti. The camera rolled brilliantly about the city landscape, especially the slums where the majority of the film is shot.
The director and the writer of the film manage to grab attention for several parts of the movie. The pre-interval is high on energy while the second half is high on drama. The supporting characters add energy and humour in the first half.
One of the centerpieces of the film is the subtle portrayal of the class and caste divide and the disturbing and real economic disparity of India. The movie becomes too long after some point but nevertheless has enough takebacks.