Jolly LLB isn't a great comedy but it's a good film. The trailers give away all the good jokes so I'd suggest you avoid watching it and go watch the film instead. As the film progresses it leaves its comic origins and snowballs into a courtroom drama. Melodrama at places, which could be its unfortunate undoing as it could have been a stronger satire. Although it does stand as a strong one which has enough heart and laughs to be perfectly enjoyable.
They say each film is only as good as its villain. Boman Irani plays the crooked successful advocate Tejinder Rajpal, who isn't the corny bald-headed villain with a catchphrase but equally effective and probably more sinister just because he could be a person we know. The fact that I wanted him defeated was enough for me to know that the film was doing something right. It is Irani's effortless ability to manifest malice with a straight face that sold me.
The opening scene involves a car accident. (Is it just me or are too many Indian films going for this opener?) This is clearly inspired by certain hit and run cases in Delhi and Mumbai. Enter Jolly, who stumbles onto this case, already won by his idol and re-opens it. He is a small-time lawyer who wishes to be as big as Rajpal one day. Arshad Warsi is wonderful and lends an affable quality to the character. He holds his own against an actor of Boman Irani's caliber. The most delightful performance in the film that deserves to be lauded is Saurabh Shukla's enormously adorable and ever-observant Judge Tripathi.
Subhash Kapoor made Phas Gaye Re Obama (2010) which was a funny film. The director has been signed to helm the third Munnabhai film. If Rajkumar Hirani doesn't wish to make it, Kapoor is the next best thing (or at least next good thing). He seems like the right choice if the preachy elements could be toned down and the genuine comic timing toned up. This film is most definitely made in the vein of the Munnabhai MBBS series and it doesn't just bear titular resemblance but has traces of its storytelling choices.
There is one moment in the film that particularly moved me, which I wouldn't like to give away. Emotional connection is established and even milked in spurts. But it's not integrated and installed for us to be entirely stirred. I'm not expecting this film to be an emotional juggernaut nor a subtle snoozer but what I do like is when a film finds its own pitch (which is the only correct one) and keeps it consistent till it reveals a little bit of magic. This isn't borne out of a genre but out of the material itself, it's organic. This is what the film lacks. The screenplay goes for contrivances when it could have gone for crisps.
Another glaring weakness lies in the film's inclusion of songs. They have absolutely no business here. Remove them and the film automatically moves a notch higher. The background score is also unduly overblown.
Albeit, Subhash Kapoor's dialogues turn out to be the mainstay of this benevolent project. He finds humor in the most unlikeliest of places. Aided by the talented cast, this film manages to shimmer just about enough to win you over. I could only wish it had that extra bit of polish, which could have made it truly shine. It has been a while since we have seen a good courtroom drama in India (Did someone say OMG! Oh My God?). This may not be a great one but it sure is a good one. Jolly LLB is certainly worth a watch.view less