Mansore’s ‘19-20-21’ is a solid, docudrama-style deep dive into the injustices faced by tribals

Posted on March 1, 2023


Spoilers ahead…

This is not a subtle movie, but when lawyers or teachers are on screen, the preaching and the messaging automatically assume context. It does not feel like the usual random advice from a random do-gooder hero.


There’s a terrific bit of irony in Mansore’s 19-20-21. The story revolves around the tribal people in the forests of the Western Ghats. They have no electricity, no toilets – it’s a long list of the essentials that they don’t have. They don’t have roads, either. A tribal man says that if they had roads, it would be easier for their children to visit them. But then, someone else says, it would be equally easy for the forest police to visit them. Perhaps they are better off as they are. The film opens in 1998, at a point when the police begin to beat up a group of tribals for collecting forest produce like honey. And we get to Irony No. 2. Imagine being punished for plucking fruits from the very trees that you have planted. That’s not all. Irony No. 3 is just around the corner.

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Posted in: Cinema: Kannada