‘Jolly LLB’ (2013) was, perhaps, one of the first Hindi films that could boast of depicting the Indian judicial system and the legal proceedings that unfold in a courtroom in a very authentic way. Unlike the kind of exaggerated drama and dialoguebaazi, one is used to witness in Hindi films featuring courtroom scenes, the Subhash Kapoor directed film portrayed courts and the judiciary system in a very real and yet entertaining manner. The film also turned to be the much underrated Arshad Warsi’s first hit as a solo hero. While one is happy to see a sequel of the film arriving four years after it released, one is also a little disappointed to see Arshad Warsi being replaced as a the lead actor. Now, one is not to question the credibility of Akshay Kumar as an actor but it would have been nice to see Warsi reprising a character which he did complete justice to in the original.
Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akshay Kumar) is a small time lawyer who works under the tutelage of Rizvi (Ram Gopal Bajaj), one of the most respected lawyers in the town. While Jolly is always on the lookout for a case, Rizvi treats him like a handmaiden and makes him do jobs ranging from serving him paan to helping his wife with cooking kebabs for the guests. To make ends meet, Jolly goes to the extent of reciting answers to students in schools and helping them pass in their examinations. Jolly’s dream is to have a chamber of his own where he could practise as a lawyer from. Jolly, who has already paid eight lakhs, needs to pay two lakhs more to get a chamber to his name. Hina (Sayani Gupta) has been trying to persuade Rizvi into taking a case for her but Rizvi does not even meet her. Jolly lies to Hina that Rizvi has finally agreed to fight her case. An overjoyed Hina immediately agrees to pay the two lakhs that Jolly asks of her. Jolly gets a chamber and celebrates her success with pomp and show. However, his happiness is short-lived as an untoward incident makes him realise his blunder. He vows to set things right and fight to get Hina and her father-in-law justice for the wrongdoings of the system.
In ‘Jolly LLB’, writer-director Subhash Kapoor maintained a fine balance between satirical humour and hard hitting dramatic scenes. Here, he does that with even more dexterity. Apart from peppering certain scenes with the requisite amount of humour, he makes sure that the seriousness of the case Jolly is working on comes across well. The film has the beats of a thriller and constantly makes you wonder what happens next. There are times when you feel that the film or rather the case has reached its culmination but the narrative unfolds very smartly, opening a pandora box of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. The final showdown between Jolly and the main culprit which also results in one getting to hear some terrific dialogues, ends the film on a emotionally charged note.
Subhash Kapoor successfully raises the bar of the franchise by several notches and delivers his best film till date. The writer and the director in him, both, are to be equally credited for this compelling film. The dialogues are much better than the ones in the original (which also had some memorable dialogues). The songs act as a major liability as apart from being far from memorable, they slow down the pace of the film.
Despite the film sticking to realism and authenticity for most of its part, there are certain portions in which you are forced to put your thinking caps down and cut the director some slack for taking creative liberties. A court of law does not approve of polygraphy test or narco-analysis. However, it is show to be allowed in the film. You also feel a little boggled as Jolly gets a convict all the way from Srinagar to Lucknow to testify in the court. You might ignore these glitches while watching the film as these sequences have been executed well.
If, like this writer, you were disappointed with Arshad Warsi’s ouster from the franchise, it might take a few minutes to get used to seeing the new Jolly but rest assured, you will warm up to Akshay Kumar’s Jolly soon enough as the actor delivers one of the best performances of his career. Also, his turn as the devoted husband is bound to bring a smile to your face. Huma Qureshi gets limited scope as Jolly’s wife but her character turns out to be memorable as Kapoor presents her as a smart, independent woman who speaks her mind. There are subtle ways in which the couple is projected as progressive. Pushpa has not changed her maiden surmname post marriage and Jolly has no qualms about cooking for her wife and child or serving alcohol to her wife.
Annu Kapoor never comes up with a performance that is less than extraordinary but it is not very often that we see the actor playing substantial roles. In this film, he gets a role worth his talent and he, as one would expect, delivers a memorable performance. Sourabh Shukla reprises his role from the first part and here, his character has a few more quirks that makes it more interesting. Kumud Mishra looks sufficiently vile as the senior police officer. Sayani Gupta gets a very different role to play from the kind she played in her earlier films (‘Margarita With A Straw’, ‘Fan’) and leaves a mark in a brief role. Manav Kaul, too, is highly effective in a cameo.
Very few sequels turn out to be better than their predecessor and ‘Jolly LL.B 2’ is definitely one of them. Both the drama and the humour is several notches higher than the first film in the installment. The film has the essence of the original film but tells a new story with much more effectiveness.