Movie Review
Jolly LLB 2:An Odd Success

If a graph could be plotted for Jolly LLB2, taking the time elapsed in the x-axis and the viewer’s interest in the y-axis, then, until the interval, you will find a very fluctuating waveform. However, post that, it shows a staircase like elevation until it reaches a high point where it remains constant till the film ends. This high point is the climax and the saviour of Jolly LLB2, which otherwise is a predictable reconstruction of its predecessor.

When Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly, a selfish, witty and abrasive lawyer from Kanpur becomes the cause for the suicide of the gullible Heena, a pregnant widow seeking justice for her murdered husband, he fights her case against all odds to clear his guilty conscience, and brings the killers to justice. This is the story of Jolly LLB2: simple, clear and straightforward but lacking novelty. Therefore, it is imperative that its treatment is clever and refreshing. A satire, hence, is not a bad choice but the fact it follows the same trajectory as the first film, it becomes predictable for most part.

The first scene of the movie itself falls flat on us and from thereon, it is like an IQ test for the viewers. “Can you guess the next scene?”, the movie seems to ask them and sadly for the director, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. What, however, manages to keep us rooted to our seats are the brilliant jokes and the fine chemistry between the three prime characters – The determined Jolly, the ruthless Defence lawyer Mr. Mathur and the eccentric, humorously just Judge Tripathy.

It is the introduction of Mr. Mathur and Judge Tripathy that smoothens the erratic waveform in the first half. Their comical intervention in Jolly’s path makes his journey more dangerous and exciting and thus piques the viewer’s interest. The question that was thrown at them is now lost in oblivion. There is nothing exceptional about the screenplay. Its structure is linear, its tone melodramatic and the dialogues, besides being powerful Shuddh Hindi, follow a repetitive pattern which make the battle of words lose some steam. However, its characters apply the much-needed pressure.

Akshay Kumar, as Jolly, effectively converts his brazenness of a selfish lawyer into the boldness of a responsible lawyer with the spirit of a go-getter. He has the vulnerability of an underdog and the focus of an archer. His determination is laudable and his transformation suitable. Annu Kapoor, as Mr. Mathur, is the perfect opponent for Jolly’s resoluteness. He is experienced, tactical, arrogant and manipulative. You would not want to mess with this guy, but certainly, you would like to see more of his aggression and…. his antics. Saurabh Shukla as the Father of All Judges aka Judge Tripathy seems to have added layers of brilliance from the first movie. This time, he is not only a social and judicial commentator but also a ‘cool’ dad. Watch out for him. You may fall in love with a Judge next time. Kumud Mishra as Suryaveer Singh, the corrupt super cop, is in a new Avatar with his terrifying moustache, but other than that, his tremendous acting skills are kept to a minimum. Rajiv Gupta as Jolly’s sidekick Birbal has no wit of the famed historical figure but gives company to his King, Jolly. Sayani Gupta as Heena excels in her brief but significant role while Manav Kaul and Inaamulhaq make special appearances. It is, however, disappointing to see Huma Qureshi being given a unidimensional character who seems to have no relevance in the film. An alcoholic wife and an able companion, she is under-explored for all her calibre’s worth.

Jolly LLB2 is special in the sense it has an epic climax. Running for almost 35 minutes, this scene achieves the right blend of humour, tension and drama that 90 minutes prior to it struggled to achieve. In this context, I am reminded of a scene from the film Adaptation. In the film, Nicolas Cage plays the struggling Charlie Kauffman who visits screenwriting guru Robert McKee to help him with his screenplay. To this, Robert McKee says:

I’ll tell you a secret. The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. Find an ending, but don’t cheat, and don’t you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that and you will be fine.”

I don’t know if writer-director Subash Kapoor has heard that but it has definitely worked for his film. I guess, he must now be a jolly good fellow.

   Chiranjib Sahoo

Chiranjib is a trained screenwriter from Whistling Woods International, Mumbai. He can be contacted at csahoo449@gmail.com. .

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