The story revolves around a young attractive model Jessica, who is shot dead at a bar by Manish, son of a prominent politician, just for refusing to serve a drink after the closing of the bar. Out of 300 Delhi's swish set present at the party, none of the witnesses turn up at the court against Manish. This is when Jessica's s...more
The story revolves around a young attractive model Jessica, who is shot dead at a bar by Manish, son of a prominent politician, just for refusing to serve a drink after the closing of the bar. Out of 300 Delhi's swish set present at the party, none of the witnesses turn up at the court against Manish. This is when Jessica's sister, Sabrina and a committed TV reporter Meera decide to drum up every resource at their disposal so as to get justice. less
“A brave and impactful attempt! Watching it is worth every penny.”
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Promos which raised excitement, an album with heart pumping songs, two actresses who have proved their mettle over and again, and a director with a great debut film -- expectations from the first Bolly release of 2011 were galore. The question in contention is: does the film live up to it? Answer: Yes, for the most.
Touching a story that has been so much in the public eye is a Catch 22 situation. The advantage lies in the fact that there is natural curiosity surrounding the story. The flip side is the matter has been so talked about that almost knows the finer details. Hence, any mistake will call for serious trouble. More so, when you are mixing fact with fiction.
But second time director Rajkumar Gupta takes the challenge head on. He takes a case that had moved the entire nation and forced the judiciary to reconsider itself. The slain model Jessical Lall, murdered by a drunk Manu Sharma, and the entire episode regarding the legal rigmarole her family and the media had to go through for justice was one of the few instances besides war and cricket that brought the entire nation together.
The movie starts with a phone call which wakes up Sabrina Lall to inform that her sister has been shot. As she rushes into the hospital, a shocked Vikram Jai Singh (an unusual surname for a Bengali family) narrates how Manish Bhardwaj had shot her when she refused to serve him a drink. As the ambulance shifts Jessica to AIIMS, Sabrina realises that her sister is dead and she needs to take up the fight from there.
On the other hand, NDTV Correspondent Meera Gaity returns to Delhi after covering the infamous Indo-Pak Kargil war. She returns amidst loads of adulation. When she is offered to do a story on Jessica Lall's murder, she shuns it calling the same an open and shut case. When a murder happens in a party crowded by 300 high society bureaucrats and socialites, that's what is expected by everyone.
But seven years later, she is proved wrong. After years of struggle,the court leaves all the accused scot-free due to lack of evidence. Out of 300, only 7 claimed to present at the time of murder. And out of them, the prime witnesses who had seen the murder happen turn hostile. While the host of the party (also a witness) Mallika Sehgal blames her amnesia, Shankar claims he was on the roof, another extracts money from the Lalls but claims he was not in Delhi; the key witness Vikram Jaysingh who had testified his statement to police claim that he doesn't know Hindi and doesn't acknowledge his own word.
Now, Meera Gaity decides that it's time for her to take the case up. And she does so to amazing effect. Though the Tehelka contribution has also been given over to NDTV, but the film captures details of the media's uprising from NDTV's 'Justice for Jessica' to the 'Middle Finger Campaign' from Punjab with elan.
Everything works in favour of the film. From the songs (the song Dilli Dilli comes with the opening titles and sets the mood), thrilling sequences, the dialogues fill of cuss words and the fact that you can identify all the characters shown -- there is nothing that works against it. What might off are a few sequences in the latter part of the second half. As important as they might, a few scenes seem a bit dragged and hence takes the attention that you have been paying from the start. But the second half more than makes up for it.
Rani Mukherjee is first rate. After a long time, and thankfully outside Yashraj camp, she delivers a great performances as the journalist who uses slangs, smokes frequently, calls herself a bitch and leaves her boyfriend in the middle of sex asking him to fly solo. She nails it as the fashionable news-woman who does a shirshasan in her office and initiates the entire Justice for Jessica process, even convincing Sabrina to come back after the latter had lost all hope.
Vidya Balan is going through a purple patch. After the glamorous mother in Paa and delectable seductress in Ishqiya, this is Vidya's 3rd consecutive meaty and commendable performance. Alas, she won't be considered in the prime league unlike a Kareena who is delivering superhits in male-oriented movies. She is sublime, innocent and yet firm as the strong sister who shouts but doesn't cry as she had promised not to shed tears to her dead sister. In one word, she is brilliant.
Myra, who plays Jessica, keeps coming back in flashes and shines everytime she does so. She is gorgeous and exudes super strength of character.
The other supporting actors do justice to their respective roles. Special mention is deserved by Neil Bhoopalam (who plays Vikram Jai Singh) and Rajesh Sharma (who plays investigating officer NK) who also helps Meera in his own ways to bring proofs to prominence. Look out for two specific scenes: the sting operation on Vikram Jai Singh and his confession that he was asked to choose between a crore and a bullet; and a brief interrogation of Manish by NK.
The only glitch and complaint that you have from the director: why was NOKJ as stark as his first outing Aamir? Is it solely because the former deals with women?
But final word: Go and watch the film. It's a great for the Hindi Film Industry in 2011. I strongly believe that not all movies need to have a purpose, but those which do deserve an extra applause.