A man pleading to be declared alive after being “dead” for 15 years, and a judge refusing to do so because a piece of paper says otherwise.
And then the man is suddenly “resurrected” by virtue of another piece of paper. It is as absurd and ridiculous as it is real. It is as hilarious as it is thought provoking. And that is the mark of a true satire.
Like its predecessor, Jolly LLB 2 does a great job of immersing the audience in the muddy waters of the Indian Judicial system.
Director Subhash Kapoor does an excellent job of portraying realistically the charms of the Indian legal and administrative system.
From the cut throat competition, to the old decaying buildings, the literal mountain of paperwork and endlessly complicated procedures, it’s all here.
It’s a cold and ruthless world, the kind for which the term Kafkaesque nightmare was invented for, marred by corruption and ignorance as anyone who has knocked the doors of Justice is well aware of.
And yet, it also shows why it is quite possibly the most important pillar of the country. This duality gracefully is displayed here with much grace.
The excellent production design deftly creates a believable world. From the bustling market place like environment of the court, the damp and almost derelict corridors of old government buildings, to lawyers riding on Chetak scooters, it’s a living breathing world that can very well exist in our neighborhood.
This sense of realism is further strengthened by a slew of excellent performances.
Akshay Kumar shines as the young, overtly ambitious lawyer, desperate to make a name for himself. Kumar’s obvious charisma and comic timing and charm breathes much needed likability and relatability into his Jolly, a man going up against a system stacked against him.
The main hurdle against him is the conniving senior advocate played by underrated Anu Kapoor who delivers a masterful, if somewhat over the top, performance.
Huma Qureshi is playing the feisty, alcohol enthusiast wife is great, if somewhat underused, And completing this set of odd balls is the great Saurabh Shukla once again portraying the hilarious, zany and wacky Judge.
It is the banter between these characters that truly give this movie its punch, helped along by a tight and concise screenplay, peppered with the lovable finesse of Awadhi manners and dialect. All this makes for an engaging and enjoyable first half.
However, the movie loses its focus in the second half. The hilarity and absurdity of the satire is taken away for a needlessly complicated conspiracy plot involving terrorism. The tonal shift from a satire to a thriller is as choppy as it is off putting.
It all culminates into the meat of the trial, where the patriotic undertone of the movie is dialed up to 11, as has become standard in an Akshay Kumar movie.
At a point, the generic patriotic music is so load that it becomes difficult to hear the lines of dialog that are central to the story.
The subtly here is that of a sledgehammer. The overt and ham-handed approach feels patronizing and takes you out of the overall experience of an otherwise smart and enjoyable movie.
There is another major problem, the music. In fact, Jolly L.L.B 2 makes a very strong case for the need for songless movies.
It is absurd to transit from a powerful character scene to a really bad party song. It’s pointless, it’s ridiculous and it is completely forgettable. Five minutes after walking out of the theater, you won’t be able to even hum along to any of the songs.
At the end of the day, Jolly L.L.B 2 is an effective satire that does an appreciable job of pointing out the flaws and absurdities of a corrupt judicial and administrative system.
But most of all, by showing us the struggles of a man fighting for justice, it shows us just how important our courts are.
As it is said in the movie, it is the last resort and the last refuge for the wronged and weak, and that is why it is so necessary that it functions properly. And any movie that does a fair representation of this deserves to be noticed.
Rating – 3.5 stars out of 5.