Pigs may fly and casteism may yet be defeated – that seems to be the message of the stone thrown at the screen at the end of Nagraj Manjule’s Marathi-language Fandry (2013).
Manjule’s directorial debut rewrote the rules of the rural Marathi drama. Fandry (Pig) depicts a village very different from the ones usually shown in Marathi films. The village is neatly divided into upper-caste and Dalit sections, and the lines are never crossed, as the adolescent hero Jabya discovers. Jabya, who is from a pig-rearing family, has a one-sided crush on an upper-caste classmate, and their union is possible only in his dreams.
In the extended climax, Jabya and his family members are called upon to perform their caste-ordained duty. A pig is running loose, and the family must capture it before it causes havoc. Jabya’s dream of presenting a good image of himself before his object of desire is shattered, and he erupts in the end. The climax echoes Shyam Benegal’s caste-themed Ankur (1974): Jabya hurls rocks at the camera, indicting the rest of the villagers and the viewers sitting on the other side of the screen.
There are other acts of resistance in the sequence. Murals of BR Ambedkar and Savitribai Phule adorns the school walls. The singing of the national anthem at the school forces the family to pause its activity, allowing the pig to get away. The villagers taunt Jabya and his family throughout, equating them with the swine they are forced to capture. At least this crime doesn’t go unpunished.
Read all the articles in the Art of Resistance series here.