Cast: Akshay Kumar, Annu Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Saurabh Shukla
Director: Subhash Kapoor
Court room dramas are always too tricky to write and shoot. Because movements of characters are restricted and unless you have sharp, powerful lines and adequate twists, they tend to become boring and can be tedious to watch. When filmmaker, writer Subhash Kapoor first came out with Jolly LLB, a court-room satire, back in 2013, it managed to rise above and become an instant hit possibly because it was cleverly written and brilliantly enacted by the entire cast. The sequel, featuring Akshay Kumar, based on similar format manages to entertain and engage just as much, despite the film’s predictability and some unexplained, unnecessary plot twists.
Akshay Kumar plays Jagdhishwar Mishra aka Jolly, a struggling lawyer in Lucknow who aspires to have his own chamber and make it big in his profession. Jolly is the 15th assistant of a noted lawyer of the city and despite his eagerness to prove his worth, is never given an opportunity to work on any case. Needless to say Jolly wants to break out and have his own practice. And he does manage to get his own chamber alibi through lying to Hina Siddiqui, a desperate 8 month pregnant woman who makes rounds of the court every day in an attempt to get someone to fight her case. Hina’s husband was killed in a fake encounter and she now seeks justice.
It is only when Hina commits suicide does Jolly realize his mistake and decides to fight her case, out of repentance perhaps. But he is pitted against the most powerful, expensive lawyer (Annu Kapoor) in town who doesn’t leave any opportunity to belittle Jolly and his failing career.
Saurabh Shukla reprises his role as the judge and he completely owns his part as the exasperated judge who knows his limitation and his rights well. Kapoor, who is also the dialogue writer, gives the best lines to Shukla and the actor makes them look so effortless and real that you feel you are watching an actual judge speak inside a real court.
In fact, the court room scenes are the high point of the film and rightly so considering the film is about a lawyer. The altercation between Kapoor and Kumar, Kumar’s desperate attempt at proving his worth and save the case and Shukla’s quick and right repartee to both the lawyers are the high points of the film. Unlike a lot of films, Jolly LLB 2’s second half saves the film. The first half takes too much time to establish the plot, meanders into unnecessary sub plots and is rather boring. But second half, with right dialogues is crackling.
There are of course a lot of loopholes. Sanjay Mishra’s character comes fleetingly to provide comic relief – which is really not needed in satire like this one. Also, at one point Jolly is barred from practicing anymore and given 4 days to prove his innocence yet in the next scene Jolly is back in the court and fighting the case.
Strong performances and smart writing manage to camouflage these flaws well. Despite Akshay Kumar’s star status, the actor makes for a convincing small-town lawyer. From mannerisms to wearing torn socks and sport shoes, Kumar’s look and performance is just right. Annu Kapoor, on the other hand, dwindles now and then. He gets the part of being the smart ruthless, successful lawyer well mostly, but ever so often, the righteous, nostril flaring music show host of '90s creeps in giving out gyaan on police force and desh drohis. Those moments you cringe the most. Huma Qureshi, Vinod Nagpal, Sayani Gupta and Manav Kaul are given limited screen time and hence are unable to do much.
Even if Jolly LLB 2 is based on the same format of its prequel, it works well. It lacks the surprise element that the first part had, it is not that cleverly written as well, yet Jolly LLB 2 manages to engage viewers and gives Kumar ample scope to perform. And he doesn’t disappoint.
Also see: Tweet review of Akshay Kumar's Jolly LLB2