Friday, March 15, 2013

Jolly LLB

Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 15th March, 2013
Time : 131 minutes
Director & Writer : Subhash Kapoor; Music : Krsna
Starring : Arshad Warsi, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Amrita Rao, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra, Harsh Chhaya, Mohan Kapoor, Mohan Agashe, Ramesh Deo

This is a thinly disguised, sarcasm laden, humour filled, biting and touching attempt to showcase the creaking, broken machinery we call the Justice system in India. It has its heart in the right place (the film, not the system) and on more than one occasion you find yourself rooting for Arshad Warsi as he seeks justice for some dead labourers, fighting a wheeler-dealer lawyer (Boman), the corrupt, we-will-look-the-other-way police and a court that doesn’t seem to have paid heed to Sunny Deol’s famous ‘Tareek pe tareek’ emotional dialogue in Damini

Arshad Warsi is from Meerut and life isn’t panning out the way he wants it to. He has a sweetheart, Amrita Rao, but that’s about the only thing he has going for him. He decides to peddle his wares in Delhi, dreaming about a big break, media publicity and hitting the mythical jackpot. A famous hit and run case presents itself as an opportunity, involves the wealthy scion of an industrialist family who keeps getting acquitted thanks to witnesses and evidence disappearing faster than the best David Blaine can manage. While at first Arshad considers striking a deal as well, but then, spurred by some sarcasm and a tight slap from an unlikely source, he decides to actually fight and walk into the battle all guns blazing.

Saurabh Shukla almost steals the show from under the noses of the two opposing litigators with his fantastic turn as the district court judge presiding over the case. Arshad is excellent, as the small town lawyer finding his feet in the big bad world of Delhi, have always felt (especially after watching Sehar), that he is highly under-rated as an actor). And Boman is every inch the dismissive, big shot lawyer, who feels its ok to even correct the judge when he feels something is not happening as per procedure (and to even lose his cool if the judge doesn’t listen).

There is something poignant about the film. You feel for the labourers, homeless and removed from their native place, an easy target for anyone looking to pick on the weak (I still remember one of the high profile Mumbai real life cases involving multiple deaths, where the accused said 'But they were only labourers ?', puzzled anyone was making such a fuss). You feel for the small-time lawyers, sitting outside the courthouse with their typewriter and moonlighting as astrologers / orchestra singers to make ends meet. You feel for the system, creaking under its own weight and procedures and the burden of lakhs of unheard cases. You feel for the few honest, well-intentioned people, trying to get by, while the many corrupt apples do their damnedest to remove or belittle them. Probably because honesty makes them nervous ?

What the film does do is get its characters spot on, and even if, on more than one occasion, you are wondering about some logical flaw, you are too invested in the drama unfolding, the age-old Good Vs Evil fight, the David vs Goliath, the fight between the oppressed and the powerful, to pay too much regard. And most of us, who feel for the state our country is in, find ourselves laughing at the little jokes, the snide remarks against our ruling class, cops and bureaucrats and cheering full-throatedly for Arshad and his band of merry men as they struggle for that mythical thing called justice in our country…before we return to our homes and do nothing about it...

PS : As an aside, I felt the ‘item number’ during the end credits, just didnt fit the particular mood or moment…

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