Movie review: Jolly LLB

Next to Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Jolly LLB may look like a poor small-town cousin. But only for a while. Once Jolly’s case starts, his rundown scooter gets going as swiftly as the Maruti. And although it isn’t quite smooth, it turns out to be an interesting ride.

We all know this case. In the past couple of years, there have been several high profile drink-drive-and-run-people-over-on-pavement cases in Mumbai and New Delhi that created huge public outrage. Jolly LLB is about the struggle of a small-time advocate from Meerut to succeed in a dog-eat-dog, truth-be-damned law world.

Frustrated with his small town, Jolly decides to move to New Delhi to try his luck. Soon he settles down to the chaos and politics of the district sessions court and the mundaneness of his practice.

Jolly LLB

But he is waiting for his big chance, which will make him rich and famous. He seeks this chance with a much-in-the-news drink-and-drive case: a drunk, rich brat runs over a group of people sleeping on the pavement and kills them. His industrialist family has hired super-famous celeb advocate Rajpal to get him off scot-free and he does too.

Except Jolly files a Public Interest Litigation case and gets the case reopened. What follows is a moral roller coaster ride for Jolly. His principles are anyway a bit skewed but as Jolly enters deeper into the technicalities of his case, he realises that there are wheels within wheels and that he has to soon take sides.

The performances are fantastic: Boman Irani plays the arrogant legal eagle Rajpal with smooth and ease whereas Saurabh Shukla plays the bumbling low-brow judge to absolute perfection. Arshad too puts in a competent performance as Jolly LLB. But an objection, Milord.

Jolly’s character is not too well etched out; his motivation and change of heart remains unclear throughout. What was his motive in filing the Public Interest Litigation case in the first place after the drink-and-drive case was well closed? His interest in the actual investigation of the case is pretty half-hearted.

The songs are forgettable, utterly tacky and totally superfluous to the narrative. Predictable as its plot is, the film ends up being too disjointed.

However, Jolly LLB excels in detailing not only the murky machinations of the law world: how judges are managed, how cases are debated, how money exchanges hands, how the media operates and how the police are allotted their posts but also its idiosyncrasies. The music plagiarism case ‘Mere toh lag gaye’ scene and Jolly being part of the terrorist round-up is hilarious. So are most of the courtroom scenes. The film’s worth a watch for these hilarious and quirky moments. 

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