There have been many films in Bollywood which have been made on the judicial system and its functioning. There have been very few films which have been able to highlight both the sides of the judicial system. One such film was released in the year 2013 in the form of JOLLY LLB, which starred Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani in the lead roles. This week sees the release of JOLLY LLB’s sequel, titled THE STATE VS JOLLY LLB 2 or popularly known as JOLLY LLB 2. Will the film enable its makers to be ‘jolly’ at the box-office or will it spell doom, let’s analyze.
JOLLY LLB 2 is a satirical courtroom drama that comments on the legal system as a whole and the effect that the judicial system has on the common man. The film starts off with the ‘two-wheeler’ entry of Jagadishwar Mishra aka ‘Jolly’, the very man who becomes instrumental in the mass-copying of the school children’s English exams. So much confidence Jolly has in his English, that he claims that even ‘Obama’s mother cannot fail any student’ this time. Amidst all this, Jolly, who works as an assistant to the extremely renowned lawyer Rizvi saab, keeps on dreaming about breaking free from the ‘clutches’ of his boss and go independent. In an attempt to realise his dream, Jolly lands up cheating a helpless and pregnant Hina Siddiqui (Sayani Gupta), whose husband was killed in a fake encounter. When Hina realizes that she had got cheated by Jolly, she commits suicide. The news of Hina’s suicide disturbs Jolly immensely that he starts getting nigtmares about her. As repentance, Jolly decides to take up the case for which Hina had given up her life. No sooner Jolly decides to take up the case, he is faced with strong opposition in the form of the superlatively experienced and ‘street smart’ Pramod Mathur (Annu Kapoor), who represents the case on behalf of his client, the accused Inspector Suryaveer Singh (Kumud Mishra). The man in charge of delivering the judgment is the Bollywood-loving Justice Sunderlal Tripathi (Saurabh Shukla), who, despite his frail heart condition, is torn between his duties as a judge and as a father of a to-be-married daughter. When the world turns totally against Jolly, the one person who stands by him is his wife Pushpa Pandey (Huma Qureshi). Will the rock solid support from his wife help Jolly win the case against the humongous system which relies on power and politics, does Jolly single handedly manage to win the case of the late Hina Siddiqui and deliver justice to her family or does Jolly succumb to the hands of the big daddies, is what forms the rest of the film.
When JOLLY LLB 2’s promos were released, it gave us a glimpse of what to expect from the film. The film, in totality, does not disappoint as it exposes the harsh truth of today’s law and order. The film’s screenplay (Subhash Kapoor) is extremely eloquent. Full marks to Subhash Kapoor for successfully positioning the film’s story as the David vs Goliath clash, which truly depicts the flawed judicial system in India. Subhash Kapoor has also managed to subtly (yet convincingly) touch upon the aspects like crime, terrorism, religion, society, actual courtroom drama, present judicial system, human emotions and sentiments in its raw form, without resorting to any kind of over the top antics. As a film maker, he has managed to do all of this without being even a bit preachy. Besides all this, Subhash Kapoor has also managed to exhibit the ‘procedures’ a common man has to undergo in order to get justice, whereas, the rich and powerful manage to get away with any kind of crime. What works in the film’s favour is the realistic setting that’s peppered with fast-paced satirical humour. While the film has its share of a handful of witty one liners (majorly in the form of ‘Akshay-isms’), it’s the film’s dialogues (Subhash Kapoor) which come across as powerful and hard-hitting. The film has its share of humour, but, in the form of ‘situational comedy’.
After having directed films like PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA, JOLLY LLB and GUDDU RANGEELA, Subhash Kapoor as a director brings yet another quirky film in the form of JOLLY LLB 2. Despite the film being a sequel of JOLLY LLB, Subhash Kapoor has taken utmost care to ensure that the sequel enjoys a life of its own and does not come across as a mirror image/ clone of its predecessor. As compared to the film’s first half which sets up the ambience of the film and establishes all the characters, it’s the film’s second half which comes across as extremely powerful and takes the film to a different level altogether. The makers of JOLLY LLB 2 have kept the courtroom drama scenes and the state of the Indian judicial system as realistic as possible, without resorting to any kind of glorification of any of these aspects. The filmmaker cracks jokes on their own characters, rather than caricaturing or dramatising things, which will find its connect with the audiences. The film even has a measured and calculated dose of action scenes (Parvez Shaikh), which are in sync with the film’s narrative. Do not miss the scenes like Akshay Kumar’s impromptu brainwave while fighting his first case, Saurabh Shukla’s telephonic conversation with his darling daughter over a Manish Malhotra lehenga, the dharna scene between Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla, Akshay Kumar’s change of heart after Sayani Gupta’s suicide. A special mention to the film’s climax speech by Akshay Kumar, which is extremely clap worthy.
As for the performances, it’s the power packed enactment by the trio of Akshay Kumar, Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla, which acts as the film’s forte. Even though the film’s first half rides majorly on the ‘tried and tested’ shoulders of Akshay Kumar, the second half sees Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla, who, alongwith Akshay Kumar hold the film in a big way. Akshay Kumar, who plays the role of a lawyer for the first time in his entire career, portrays his character with superlative élan and supreme confidence and brings in an array of emotions in his role. Akshay once again shows what a powerful and talented performer he is, besides being one of the country’s biggest superstars. Trailing him closely are the seasoned actors Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla. Annu Kapoor is brilliant in the role of a corrupt lawyer. His character becomes powerful majorly in the film’s second half. And it’s more towards the climax that one gets to see his subdued performance. The supremacy of this man’s performance can be seen during the scenes where he matches frame to frame and word to word during the argument sessions with Akshay Kumar in the film. Saurabh Shukla, on the other hand, is outstanding in the role of a frustrated judge who can see everything, but does not always react. But, when the situation demands, he can very strictly put his foot down and call the shots with utmost authority. Despite Huma Qureshi being the film’s leading lady, her performance gets overshadowed by the trio of Akshay Kumar, Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla. She does a decent job, if not an outstanding one. Rest of the characters are brilliant and do their job with utmost sincerity which shows in the film.
Despite the presence of multiple music directors (Manj Musik, Meet Bros, Chirantan Bhatt), JOLLY LLB 2 has average music. In other words, the film’s soundtrack is plain and ordinary. While there are a couple of situational tracks, the ones that cover some distance are 'Go Pagal' and 'Bawara Mann'. On the other hand, the film’s background score (Vishal Khurana) is good and helps in elevating the film’s narrative.
The film's cinematography (Kamal Jeet Negi) is decent. On the other hand, the film's editing (Chandrashekhar Prajapati) could have been tighter. Had the film been reduced by a few minutes, it would have definitely created a stronger impact.
On the whole, JOLLY LLB 2 comes across as a powerful courtoom drama which is laced with humour as well as emotions. With Akshay Kumar’s star power, positive word of mouth and almost zero competition at the box office, JOLLY LLB 2 has the potential to grow huge at the box office. A must watch.