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Quota: The Reservation trailer – Sanjivv Jaiiswwal's film dives into the rot of casteism in the education system

The film will be streamed on a new OTT platform BabaPlay, dedicated to the ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, in cinema.

Shriram Iyengar

The success of the hard-hitting Tamil film Jai Bhim (2021) and the rise of filmmakers like Pa Ranjith, Mari Selvaraj and Nagraj Manjule has given an impetus and a renewed focus to cinema about caste oppression in India.

Now, an OTT platform with a singular focus on such subjects and the ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar, widely regarded as the father of the Constitution, is being primed for launch. Its first project is Quota: The Reservation, written and directed by Sanjivv Jaiiswwal.

The trailer for the film focuses on a spate of suicides by students across institutions of higher learning after constant bullying and harassment on account of their so-called lower-caste background.

The trailer builds around the story of a student who discovers that even the educational system is just as corrupt as any other when it comes to casteism. With the background of the stories of Rohith Vemula, Payal Tadvi and G Varalakshmi, among others, it builds up into a revolution with the students taking on the system.

Writer-director Jaiiswwal said, “Now the country has its own social media platform dedicated to Ambedkarites. This will be an instrument of change and films like Quota are pivotal to this change. We aim to offer entertainment with meaning and purpose and spread Babasaheb's ideas across the country.”

Jaiiswwal made his debut as a screenwriter with the thriller Fareb (2005) starring Manoj Bajpayee, Shilpa Shetty and Shamita Shetty. He also produced the film Anwar (2007), written and directed by Manish Jha.

Anirudh Dave, who plays dalit student Saurabh Rawat, a victim of casteism, added, “It is an honour to be chosen as the face of a story so crucial. We need to talk about these problems that divide our nation and ultimately become our weakness. I am excited to be featured on India’s one and only app that represents the voice of the dalit community.”

The trailer is raw and not without its flaws. While the ideas seem relevant, necessary even, their treatment feels a bit rough and lacks the polish required to heighten the drama and the film's philosophy.

The platform has not yet announced the film's release date. In addition to Dave, the film features Garima Kapoor and Aditya Om in key roles.