Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani will appear in a Tamil film directed by Pa Ranjith, The Indian Express reported. Mevani will be seen in a cameo role that “suits his persona”, Ranjith told the newspaper. “I met him (Mevani) on Pongal (January 14) when he was visiting Chennai. I will be offering him a cameo role in my next movie as it was wonderful meeting a young leader like him. We spoke about various issues including Dalit rights and the ongoing movement,” the director said.
Mevani said that he had asked Ranjith if he could appear in the director’s next film. “I am very excited about the idea of doing a cameo in his movie,” he told The Indian Express. “I brought up the topic and even Ranjith approved it. I was honoured to celebrate Pongal with the director. He is one of the most humble persons I have known.”
Ranjith made his debut as a director in 2012 with Attakathi, and earned critical acclaim with his political drama Madras (2014). In 2016, he directed the Rajnikanth-starrer Kabali, which was a box office success.
Earlier this year, Ranjith’s organisation Neelam Cultural Centre collaborated with the label Madras Records to form a 19-member band called Casteless Collective. “This is a collective that is without caste, that aims to eliminate caste and religious discrimination through music,” Ranjith told Scroll.in. Casteless Collective put together songs about several issues such as reservation, manual scavenging and the agrarian crisis.
The director told The Indian Express that he believes in the notion of art as a movement. “I wanted to come to Una for taking part in the movement against the flogging of Dalit youths (allegedly by gau rakhshaks), and was following the details of the agitation. But I could not make it as I was tied up with work,” he said.