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'Jolly LLB 2' Is A Comedy With An Intellectual Edge

10/02/2017 9:07 PM IST | Updated 13/02/2017 12:12 PM IST
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A courtroom comedy-drama written directed by Subhash Kapoor, Jolly LLB 2 is the much anticipated sequel to the 2013 National Award-winning film Jolly LLB, also directed by Kapoor. Starring Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Annu Kapoor, and Saurabh Shukla, who reprises his role from Jolly LLB, this film presents the story of a small-time but street-smart Lucknow-based lawyer named Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly. He works as an assistant for a big shot lawyer but dreams of having his own chamber one day. Jolly tricks a pregnant woman to pay for the last installment of his chamber but soon the guilt begins to take a toll on him. Voila, Jolly is a reformed man! What ensues is a good old Bollywood-esque tale of redemption wherein the hero takes it upon himself to ensure that the justice is done to those wronged by the system.

'Jolly LLB 2' raises pertinent questions about the corrupt state of the government machinery and the increasingly incapacitated judicial system without ever appearing serious...

Jolly LLB 2 is a complete Bollywood package, except that it begins with a quote from Oliver Stone about how cinema is a reflection of reality and ends with the famous Martin Luther King Jr. quotation: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Subhash Kapoor began his career as a political journalist and it makes sense for him to invoke Stone and King. But he also knows how to make an entertaining film and so in between those two references—one at the beginning and one at the end—he tries his best to serve us with loads of comedy and drama, with surprising levels of thrill and suspense. And it certainly works. Here is a smart film that offers a considerable amount of food for thought that's been cleverly packaged within layers of entertainment.

Jolly LLB 2 succeeds in raising very many pertinent questions about the corrupt state of the government machinery and the increasingly incapacitated judicial system without ever appearing serious. Credit should go to Subhash Kapoor and team for achieving this in such a seamless manner. The Kashmir sequences look quite convincing and succeed in capturing the unrest in the Valley. Kapoor succeeds in evoking Munna Bhai M.B.B.S during the opening exam cheating sequence. The scenes featuring Saurabh Shukla and Annu Kapoor are pure gold. What a treat it is to witness the two veteran actors doing what they do best in front of a motion picture camera. Their performances are certainly the heart and soul of the movie. As for Akshay Kumar, while he delivers another solid performance, he fails to attain the brilliance of Airlift. Also, his comic timing isn't quite as perfect as it has been in the past. Matching the brilliance of Arshad Warsi's turn in Jolly LLB was always going to be a challenge for Akshay. But, nonetheless, it's really heartening to see a superstar like him work so hard to prepare himself for each of his roles. As for Huma Qureshi, her part in the movie just doesn't do justice to her acting talents.

It pales in comparison to 'Jolly LLB'... but on its own it packs comedy, drama, action and suspense into a riveting package.

Overall, Jolly LLB 2 is a highly entertaining film that subtly nudges you to think. The film takes swipes at the judiciary, highlights its complexities and flaws, but ultimately reinstates faith in the system. It pales in comparison to Jolly LLB, so don't go expecting a repeat of that, but on its own it packs comedy, drama, action and suspense into a riveting package.

Rating: B+

A version of this review was first published in A Potpourri of Vestiges.

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