Jolly LLB 2

Movie Review Jolly LLB 2


by Meena Yeggina

Directed by: Subhash Kapoor
Starring: -Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Sayani Gupta, Annu Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla Music by: Manj Musik, Meet Bros Chirantan Bhatt
IPM Rating: ***/5

First things first. Arshad Warsi's Jolly LLb 1 was definitely a cut above than Akshay Kumar's Jolly LLb 2. The first one was tighter, zanier and authentic as it assumed the story of Jessica, the model who was shot to death by a politician's son in a bar. It's not that Jolly LLB 2 is not based on reality. In fact it does, very much so but a tad loosely. The movie is built around false identity, wherein an innocent Muslim man is killed in a fake encounter under mysterious circumstances.

After Shah Rukh's Raees, which had a Muslim as the main protagonist, Jolly LLb 2 introduces several Muslim characters that after a long time look naturally Indian and part of our mainstream than communal caricatures or stereotyped versions of "good-sidekicks/ soldiers-that-get-killed-or-martyred- proving-their-loyalty,"role. While Shah Rukh's Raees brought a certain kind of pride and dignity to an Indian Muslim crushed these days under the burden of being called a second hand citizen world over and more so in India under the BJP rule, Jolly LLb 2 too brings in several dignified Muslim characters (Akshay's boss, and Kashmiri cops for example) that are mainstream. The Lucknow Hindi/Urdu, peppered with "janabs" and "arshads," is a rare treat to your aural faculty.

Story is about the reality behind a fake encounter where cops kill a young boy suspected of terrorist acts. As the story unfolds, the Kashmir/Uttar Pradesh connection is brilliant and well woven.

The drama in the courtroom is also very close to reality it seems. In this context Avirook Sen's novel Aarushi based on true story is a must read to understand how courts in semi urban India function. The courtroom drama is never ending and "shootouts, strikes and holidays" take place all the time in the courthouse. Some court scenes are are beyond imagination. I had the opportunity to go to a district court in Andhra, India (several years ago) and was so taken aback at the unbelievable occurrences taking place. It's simply insane, pathetic and beyond logic.

So to a common person whose court knowledge is limited to movies and TV, this scenario in Jolly LLB might look satirical, funny, coincidental and unrealistic, but in reality this is exactly what happens. Courtroom exchanges in India are more personal, livid, beyond unreal and depend on the whims and fancies of a sitting Judge, well, sometimes at least. And Jolly LLB 2 brings this exact nature of uncertainty in our justice system to the forefront along with the bewildering comprehension about the importance of our Judicial system to a common man who otherwise might find it impossible to find justice.

Story is simple. Akshay Kumar (Jagdishwar Mishra), a slightly unscrupulous attorney is awakened to his sense of justice with the suicide of a young pregnant Muslim woman. He takes up her case, which drives him to the valley of Kashmir. In his fight to bring her justice he comes across a powerful system, indifferent bureaucracy and a corrupt, jingoistic lawyer who together try to cover up a fake encounter that kills an honest Muslim in the name of terrorism.

There is no pseudo heroism in this plot. In fact you see Akshay Kumar pleading, cajoling and profusely thanking, with folded hands, the Judges, top cops, and even constables who help him in turn.

As Lucknow is the hub of Hindu- Muslim population and culture you see a lot of intermingling of these communities, which is a pleasure to watch. One of such scenarios is one where there is a cricket match between "Burkhas (women in Muslim attire)," and "Gunghats (women in Hindu attire)," where men act as cheerleaders with their shirts off (impossible to describe my feelings here. Lets just say not a very pleasant sight). The retired constable organizing these games (and who provides the most crucial First Information report (FIR) to Kumar for money) exclaims that this is his way of showing "Burkha or Gunghat, a woman's role is always crucial than that of a man in a society."

Saurabh Shukla, as the judge, is in his mettle: subtle and versatile he often steals the scenes from right under Akshay Kumar's nose. I would like to say Kudos to Kumar for letting other actors take so much of limelight. And thanks to the director for showcasing such talent and giving them time. Anu Kapoor as the local lawyer with nationalistic lingo is superb. Some scenes I loved: -Anu Kapoor bringing in "Nationalism," "love for the country," into an argument in the court that is so mangled up you don't really fathom how it becomes part of the proceedings against false identity. This scene brilliantly showcases the rising jingoism that targets the minority in the name of growth, development and fear (of the outsider/minority). As they say, the last refuge of development is communalism.

Kumar casually cooking and cleaning in his house (just as Shah Rukh does in Raees, one that I found more alluring) for his wife and son while discussing his case and work: Excellent casual example set to his young son (and male audiences) about equality

A young Kashmiri Muslim constable helping Kumar in his quest for justice: The eagerness, innocence and happiness on the boy's face at the delivery of justice gave me immense pleasure. So much violence in Kashmir and I hope soon political justice is done to hapless young Kashmiris.

Jolly LLB 2 is grounded in reality and showcases how much justice imparted hinges on the wisdom of judges. It is hence extremely crucial for judges to remain independent and away from press and political pressure, especially in these current trying polarizing times.

Saurabh Shukla, Annu Kapoor and Akshay Kumar steal the show in that order while several other character actors lend strong support to the plot. As in the Jolly LLb 1, the role of the heroine in Jolly LLb 2 is also minimized to encouraging the male protagonist and being his support system. Song sequences feel unnecessary and frustrate you from the main plot.

Overall a must watch, and happily, with your family. A feel good movie.