Fandry: A riveting tale on the life and love of a Dalit teenager

3 min readDec 13, 2023

Somnath Awghade (Jabya in the film) has such a beautiful and detailed face. He fits the role of the Dalit teenager who struggles to express his love to his classmate who is from an upper class family. On one side, the love for his classmate Shalu is making him spread his wings — aspire for a new jeans, reject the call of an upper caste man to remove a piglet from a drain while the reality of the village crushes his self esteem and his identity.

The film starts establishing the family of Jabya. His father does all kinds of meek jobs in the village from cleaning, to serving tea to ensuring that the pigs doesn’t enter the village. His mother and sister cut the grass and straws to make baskets which they sell in the market. Everywhere, they face oppression and control.

The village house and the setting in which the family sits together to make the baskets was beautiful. I have travelled extensively across Maharashtra and the wide pan shots show a Marati village in all its natural form. Then, Jabya sells the baskets in the local market. A lady comes and commands him to give the basket for 60 rupees but he sticks to his 100 rupees price.

Later, an upper caste man calls Jabya to remove the piglet from a drain in front of his house. Jabya rejects his call with no hesitation and it shocks the upper caste man who later complains to Jabya’s father on how he has not been raised properly.

He sells ice lollies along with his friend and roams around the streets with the ice lollies on the back of a cycle which he takes from Chankya who is highly supportive of Jabya.

While he is confident, situations force him to examine his identity and his family position in the society.

While going for one of those ice lolly selling expedition on his bicycle with his friend, the cycle gets crushed by a truck that rams over the parked cycle while taking reverse gear.

Another outstanding scene is the betrothel scene of his sister. A young groom comes home to see his sister and they demand 50,000 INR and gold as dowry. The helpless father meekly tells the visitors that he is a poor man and that he can stretch to every possible extent to get 20,000 INR. The scene was so brilliantly conceived and the attention to detail to every prop makes me surprise that the director is a debutant.

Another scene was when his mother comes to school and returns home without seeing Jabya. The teacher asks Jabya to attend to his mother but before he could go and meet her, she leaves the school. When Jabya returns home, he gets angry with his mother for visiting the school without telling him.

The scene towards the end when the whole family runs around to catch the pig exposes all the darkness that is inherent in the system. The upper caste youngsters make fun of the family, Jabya’s classmates including Shalu stand in the open observing the family at play. At one point when Jabya tries to sneak in close to the school to have a look at the girl, the father notices his son who was not helping him. He thrashes him endlessly infront of everyone and the poor little boy has no place to hide himself. His identity and his family’s identity was exposed in broad daylight to the laughter and ridicule of the whole village.

When the upper caste youth make fun of his sister and make conitnuous slurs towards her and the family, Jabya starts throwing stones at them. They run away, get some fresh air and come back to attack Jabya. Jabya takes a stone and walks towards them (the camera) when the camera fades into darkness saying ‘Story, Screenplay and Direction by Nagaraj Manjule’.

As an audience, I had the same rage as Jabya and the intensity of the film from start to end was astonishing. I am surprised that this film didn’t win an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.




Father, Entrepreneur & Writer; Edison award winning innovation; Daytime Emmy nominated animation; Author of two books; WEF Davos, Cannes Lions, TEDx