'Jai Bhim' Gnanavel's 'Dosa King': All you must know about Saravana Bhavan Rajagopal And Jeevajothi: An Intricate Report!

(This article is authored by Alar) 

Indian cinema is presently busy with bringing fresh movies inspired by true events, biopic, and courtroom dramas to the plate. The directors grasped the taste of what audiences are focused on and gave them what they want. The recent hits of Jai Bhim, Gargi, Rocketry, and Nenjuku Needhi are the ones loved by the buffs. The latest on film industry wording about the adaptation movie on Rajagopal and Jeevajothi case. And it will be helmed by 'Jai Bhim' director TJ Gnanavel. 

About 'Dosa King'

Rajagopal has brought his life to light from being a son of an onion seller in Tuticorin to the owner of the world-famous restaurant that has 111 branches in 22 countries globally including the US and the UK. At the age of 26, he started his business by opening a provisional store in KK Nagar, Chennai. After 8 years of running his general store, he opened the first ever brand new restaurant in the name of 'Saravana Bhavan' in Chennai in 1981.

Rajagopal was so overwhelmingly involved in his business growth, as he visited Singapore fast food joints like McDonald's for inspiration. In 2000, he crossed the Indian territories and set up the first international branch of his hotel in Dubai, and left for his son Shiva Kumar's lookout, who studied Hotel Management in Switzerland. Further, he expanded it to major cities like Paris, London, New York, Toronto, etc, and also gained Non-Indian attractions. 

The Issue Of Jeevajothi-Rajagopal

In 1994, the Jeevajothi family came to Chennai with the only need of survival, sold their asset, and settled in the finance business with Rajagopal. He later appointed Jeevajothi's father Ramasamy in his hotel and had been a full family supporter to her since she was 13. Jeevajothi married her maths tuition teacher Prince Santhakumar with strong opposition from her mother and Rajagopal in 1999. 

He also helped the couple to begin a travel agency. When Jeevajothi showed her interest in the film industry, with her husband's encouragement, Rajagopal blockaded her. A year before his first branch opening in Dubai, in 1999 many reports claimed that Rajagopal with his fascinated interest in astrological belief and by an astrologer, identified in police records as Ravi of Madipakkam, a Chennai suburb, had told Rajagopal, that his horoscope matched with Jeevajothi’s, and marrying her would take him to the pinnacle of his achievements. Hence he took the advice and tried to marry her. At that time, Rajagopal was married to two women.

According to the prosecution documents, Rajagopal made advances on Jothi, at the beginning, he approached her in a non-violent way. But what happened next was the whole sequence in the case got media trial, where Rajagopal hired his men to allegedly attempted to kidnap and kill her husband and his body was found in the Kodaikanal area on October 31, 2001. 

A shocking report from Tamil investigative journal Nakkheeran stated that behind Rajagopal's bold persisting move to acquire Jeevajothi, was her mother Thavamani herself, who swore that she will get her daughter married to Rajagopal. After a continuous fight tooth and nail to get justice for her deceased husband, Jeevajothi after 18 years got the good news from the Supreme court in 2019, which ordered the tycoon to "surrender immediately".

After surrendering on 9 July 2019 to serve his life sentence, Rajagopal had a heart attack on 13 July 2019 and five days later he died at the age of 73, in Vijaya Hospital, Chennai on 18 July 2019. On this shocking news heard, Jeevajothi said to the media, "It was a memorable day in my life. Now, even though I feel sorry for his death the fact that he died without spending a single day in prison will not allow my husband's soul to rest in peace. To me, it will remain an irremediable wound". 

Adaptation of the issue by T J Gnanavel

In the first week of July 2022, Junglee pictures, which made 'Raazi' a smash-hit Bollywood movie, announced the fresh project of making 'Dosa King' - a court battle of Jeevajothi on 2001 murder case threaded with 'Saravana Bhavan' Rajagopal, and 'Jai Bhim' director will be making it. Jeevajothi on the adaptation of her life events, will bring a new change and reach more people, where her voice was not heard in the earlier days. She said, "I am overwhelmed and elated by Junglee Pictures' decision to make a feature film about my legal and emotional battle with this affluent hotelier, a struggle that went on for 18 years. I am confident that seeing this story on the big screen will bring about a drastic change in the status quo of patriarchy."

According to a press release from the makers, the currently untitled film will trace the making of Rajagopal, a rags-to-riches businessman, a family man who was worshipped for his generosity by his employees. As the sequel to witnessing 'Jai Bhim's handling style by Gnanavel, his filmmaking made the audience trust him again in this 'Dosa King' biopic. As a matter of fact, it was known, that he was a determined journalist before wearing a filmmaker's shoe. According to the director, during his time as a journalist, this case has evolved into a hot topic in the state and has enticed his full attention, which has now brought him to make the movie adaptation of the sensationalized issue.

Talking about 'Dosa King', TJ Gnanavel said in a statement, “I’ve observed the subject closely, following the case during my days as a journalist. I hope to bring out new dimensions through Jeevajothi’s legal battle on screen. Today, directing this project and working on its characters feels surreal. I’m excited to begin this journey with Junglee Pictures which is known for developing some of the most iconic films in contemporary Indian Cinema.”

Amrita Pandey, CEO of Junglee Pictures also added, “Dosa King is a riveting tale that will require a keen eye while detailing the characters and story. Gnanavel’s years as a journalist makes him a balanced filmmaker with an obsession for details and authenticity. We’re beyond excited to partner with him to bring this captivating, unbelievable and inspiring saga to life.” Keeping this all aside and couldn't help to ponder about one thing about the director, who knew very well that it would be valid and right to provide the film on Irular community issue in Tamil audience, but finding now that he is directing this case in Hindi, which occurred entirely in Tamil Nadu is not discernible.