In the opening sequence of the 19.20.21 trailer, we see a tribal group move from one place to another within their forest. One of them looks at the barren lands and wonders if this is the forest they have known for a long time. He wisecracks, “Man roamed the earth but trees changed where they stood.” Helmed by Mansore of the critically acclaimed Act 1978 (2020) fame, the social drama aims to throw light on the land issues and human rights violations faced by tribal communities.
While officers and politicians try to get hold of their lands, a few activists and lawyers take the side of the tribals. “They have been dwelling in the forest for generations, they are not the outsiders,” points out a lawyer. The trailer takes us through their culture and rituals, cutting back and forth to show their struggle to get back the village.
Amidst court cases and police brutality, the film picks up the case of Manju (played by Shrunga BV), who is in his 20s, searching for jobs in the city. Initially, he is being judged based on the place he hails from. But things get worse when he is arrested and wrongfully booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UA(P)A). He is said to be a Naxal and framed as a traitor. The three-minute-long trailer gives us glimpses of their struggles through hard-hitting visuals, portraying how they suffer at the hands of the police and law. The lawyer argues that the constitution is “For the people, by the people and of the people.” And that it should adhere to human values.
Written by Mansore and Veerendra Mallanna (who co-wrote the screenplay of Act 1978), the film features Balaji Manohar as the defendant, Avinash as the prosecutor and Rajesh Nataranga as an activist. It also stars prominent singer and activist MD Pallavi. 19.20.21 is slated to hit the screens on March 3.