Cast: Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Saurabh Shukla, Annu Kapoor, Kumud Mishra, Sayani Gupta, Manav Kaul
Direction: Subhash Kapoor
Subhash Kapoor’s compelling courtroom drama is one of the best satires of recent times. ‘Jolly LLB 2’ addresses the pertinent issues of the day with skill and humour, all the while exhibiting remarkable restraint.
The premise seems simple enough – Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akshay Kumar) is a small-time lawyer trying to break into the big league. He files a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against a fake encounter case, which in effect means that he is accusing the city’s top cop (Kumud Mishra) of cold-blooded murder.
While on the surface it is a simple enough case, the filmmakers do an incredible job of questioning stereotypical beliefs. A man in uniform is believed to be above any form of scrutiny and questioning but if you are part of a religious minority, your culpability doesn’t even need to be proved. It then doesn’t matter whether you are Iqbal Qadri (Manav Kaul) or Iqbal Qasim – or some other Ahmed/Mohammad/Khan – a Muslim name automatically brands you a terrorist, a Jihadi or an anti-national.
At the same time, it would be a rare occurrence indeed if one is to question the motives of a decorated officer named, say, Suryaveer Singh! The religious profiling of a particular community paints everyone with the same brush.
The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate, the politics of fear and the belief that we are in a state of war with the ‘other’ helps us to justify all wrong. If there is a miscarriage of justice and the person happens to belong to the minority community, then it is sad, but well, that’s just another dispensable life.
This engaging courtroom drama exposes these ‘accepted’ beliefs. It is so easy to get away with murder because no one is ready to challenge these fake encounters. The plot is disturbing in parts, but to the director’s credit, he manages to underline the sorry state of affairs with wry humour, making the court proceedings highly watchable.
Annu Kapoor as the senior advocate, Akshay Kumar as the novice lawyer and Saurabh Shukla as the presiding judge exhibit perfect comic timing, so much so that the legal exchanges and repartees are definitely worth a second watch.
The film does expose the problems of our legal system, but it never undermines its power. The system may be sad, but it is not hopeless.
The sub-plot is peppered with gems of genuine humour, such as the cricket match that Sanjay Mishra is seen presiding over (‘Burqa 11’ versus ‘Ghoongat 11’) and the complete concentration with which the judge is seen editing his daughter’s wedding card (that states the groom is to ‘wet’ the wife).
It is also, interesting to see how Jolly LLB is always seen doing household chores while his MA Sanskrit wife, Pushpa (Huma Qureshi), is happy to be the laid back spouse. In fact, when Jolly gets shot, the wife manages to scare the goons away and advises Jolly to carry a country revolver for his safety. All this is done without fuss, they don’t make a big deal about ‘redefining’ gender stereotypes.
Akshay as the ‘tilak dhari’ underdog lawyer is as effective as he has been in films like ‘Special 26’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Airlift’. The dialoguebaazi is restrained but he still packs a punch in the delivery.‘
Jolly LLB 2’ is the kind of film where the filmmakers have managed to weave an engrossing narrative with the right amount of drama and wit. The performance of the lead and the supporting cast further bolster this pertinent film in today’s world of jingoism and radical nationalism where we need to wear our patriotism on our sleeves.
Loud applause for ‘Jolly LLB 2’ team – a film as honest, fun and relevant as this should have ideally witnessed a Republic Day weekend release.