A little over two years after he delivered PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA, a distinctive account highlighting the ramifications of slump and recession, Subhash Kapoor returns with yet another film that highlights a reality. But before I proceed to review the film, I need to clear a misconception. A lot of you may assume that JOLLY LLB is a hardcore comic entertainer [at least I was led to believe that, thanks to its promos and publicity material]. But, in actuality, it's *not* a comic fare in entirety. It's a serious fare [with some humor interlaced in its screenplay in the initial half], inspired by a real-life hit and run case that made front-page news.
Come to think of it, very few movies can claim to make you laugh at the right places, yet mirror the realities that plague the nation concurrently. JOLLY LLB walks the thin line wonderfully. The on-screen characters seem straight out of everyday life and if I am not mistaken, this is, perhaps, the first Hindi movie that finds humor within the confines of a courtroom, besides presenting a captivating courtroom drama so effectively.
JOLLY LLB works for yet another reason: It's a fascinating account of an underdog who locks horns with a much-senior, much-powerful and much-influential lawyer and emerges triumphant, after facing a lot of hardships. This slice of life film celebrates the spirit of the aam aadmi so admirably and capably that in his triumph lies your triumph!
Jolly [Arshad Warsi], a Meerut-based lawyer, arrives in Delhi in search of a case that would make him affluent and celebrated instantaneously. As luck would have it, Jolly gets involved in a case which pitches him against a mighty opponent -- the hugely successful and unbeatable lawyer [Boman Irani].
For decades, a majority of Hindi movies have projected courtrooms so differently. From what a real courtroom looks like to how the lawyers argue cases, besides speaking in chaste Urdu or Hindi, most Hindi movies seem to be completely detached from realism. In actuality, the situation may be grim and serious, but JOLLY LLB places a judge, two warring lawyers and sundry characters in a realistic setting, yet discovers humor in the most unexpected [dark] situations. A satire on the judicial system, the film boasts of powerful courtroom sequences [reminds you of NO ONE KILLED JESSICA, at times], but, most importantly, it has several poignant moments that you carry home after the screening has concluded. The arguments in the packed courtroom and also between the lawyers -- Boman and Arshad -- is the soul of the enterprise. Also, a number of sequences featuring the judge [Saurabh Shukla], especially the one when he loses his cool, are nothing short of brilliant.
Above and beyond the serious tone of the movie, the humor in Subhash Kapoor's movies stems from commonplace stuff, which is evident in JOLLY LLB as well. If I may say so, it's very close to what Rajkumar Hirani projects in his movies. At the same time, the dramatic/serious moments and the way the argument proceeds in the courtroom have been handled most realistically. I'd like to make a special mention of the dialogue, also penned by the director, which enhance the impact of several sequences. Anshuman Mahaley's cinematography is most appropriate. Sanjoy Chowdhary's background score is exhilarating.
Blemishes? This should've been a songless fare. The songs act as a hindrance, for sure. Even otherwise, the soundtrack is plain ordinary. Also, the pace slackens, albeit slightly, towards the middle of the film.
JOLLY LLB rests on three shoulders primarily -- Arshad, Boman and Saurabh Shukla. Accomplished actors, all... and together they set the screen ablaze with their terrific acts. Arshad is magnificent. Known for his impeccable comic timing, this movie is sure to make people realize that he's equally fab while handling dramatic/serious moments. Boman is top notch in a role that seems tailor-made for him. The arrogance, haughtiness, overconfidence and manipulative streak in his character comes alive thanks to his bravura act. Saurabh is extraordinary and in certain sequences, the scene-stealer. This is one performance that will win him immense admirers, besides accolades of course. It's wonderful to see Amrita Rao after a hiatus. Though the film belongs to the above-named actors, she makes her presence felt every time she appears on screen.
The supporting cast delivers sparkling performances as well. Manoj Pahwa is first-rate. Harsh Chhaya is admirable. Mohan Kapur is proficient. Mohan Agashe is wonderful. Veteran Ramesh Deo is super. Sanjay Mishra is perfect in a cameo. Sandeep Bose [as the corrupt cop], Ishtiaq Arif Khan, Mukund Bhatt and Rajiv Siddharth are satisfactory.
On the whole, JOLLY LLB is a power-packed courtroom drama. But, most importantly, it celebrates the spirit of the common man seeking justice and impartiality most effectively. Just don't miss this jolly good film!