I don’t know why I deviate from my rule of judging a movie by it’s trailer. When I saw the trailer I was actually disappointed because the main reason why Jolly LLB was a hit, was because of Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani’s on-screen chemistry. For a mere cash grab the producer and director decided to absolutely remove that element and bank on the name of Akshay Kumar.
There is one more reason why I decided to overlook my golden rule and that is reviews and an Instagram picture. Don’t worry I’ll put it down here :
If you are thinking who is Virat Kohli, then let me clarify. Virat Kohli is the captain of Indian Men’s Cricket Team, whose performance is not subjective but objective. I mean, you can literally see it on T.V., how he performs. Now, comparing an actor, whose work is completely subjective, to a player takes guts. So, does the comparison fail or succeed. Let’s see.
STORY, SCREENPLAY & DIRECTION – This is going to be a huge paragraph by the looks of the title. So everything has been done by Subash Kapoor. He also did it in the original and why he went overboard with this is obvious. Cash grab, like I said in the beginning.
So the story is almost the same as the original. It begins with Jolly taking on a small crime which he loses on paper but wins through a legal trickery. Then Jagdish Mishra(Akshay Kumar) takes on a case deceivingly in order to make an office of his own. That has it’s own consequences which leads to the feeling of righteousness igniting in his heart and he honestly takes on the case. He is up against Pramod Mathur(Annu Kapoor), who is obviously defending the other side of justice and that leads to an interesting court-room drama between right and wrong. So not much change in the story. In the original there were some parallels to the Salman Khan case and here it is a case of terrorism, wrongful conviction and even murder.
So here is where the screenplay comes into play. After watching the original and the recent court-room drama, Pink, the writing seems extremely weak. The movie keeps shifting from outright comedy, to dark, to comedy, to dark, to patriotic, to dark and to comedy. The most interesting thing about the original was the back and forth between Boman and Arshad. The banter between them provided the comedy. Here, everything else serves as comic relief except the banter. Here the dialogue between Jolly and Pramod is only taking jibes in an unrealistic, filmy fashion. At one point in the film, Sunderlal(Saurabh Shukla) even tells Jolly to not act as if he is Sunny Deol and if you remember his infamous ‘Tarikh pe tarikh”, you know what he was talking about. That movie was overacting and over-dramatisation personified and inspite of taking a jab at it, Jolly LLB 2 does the same. Subash Kapoor, introduces, re-introduces characters as he sees fit. There is no sense of day or time and for how long the case occurs. The movie begins to lose it’s gravity right after intermission and never settles down. The only thing I can give props to, is the way he tied it with the original. It’s obvious that many people have the same name and so even if the sequel uses the name it manages to put in a reason for it, instead of saying it’s the same character but is being enacted by someone else.
As for the direction, Jolly LLB received two national awards. So you can expect the level of that movie. Here Subash Kapoor just relies on exposition to make progress and over-the-top melodramatic scenes to cover up the tension that should be in a court-room drama. The movie felt overtly clean and it never tried to get into the grime of the system. There was a particularly amazing scene in the original, involving Guruji(Sanjay Mishra). It was shown in a very comedic way but it gave a peek into the dark side of our system. Here everything is polished and every attempt at revealing the dangerous side of the system felt cliched and like it was borrowed from movies from the 90’s.
Lastly, the product placement. Every time there was a blatant product placement I was cheering just to showcase the stupidity of it.
ACTING – I’ll come to Akshay Kumar after I talk about everyone else, because I have to justify whether he is as good as Virat Kohli or not. Huma Qureshi has some funny sequences which she does very naturally and hey, she was looking really beautiful. Saurabh Shukla is over-used. His jokes felt funny when it came unexpectedly. Here, his performance was at par but his character was used way too much due to which almost all of his moves could be anticipated. Kumud Mishra is pretty frightening in this avatar. He always does these fluff or motivational or very supportive roles. Here he was extremely menacing. Annu Kapoor was irritating. There was no nuance to his performance. He was shouting and making loud gestures and totally wasted a great opportunity.
Now, it’s time for the star of the show. Akshay Kumar. I am a fan of his grounded performances in Airlift, Baby and Special 26 and completely detest all of his over-the-top performances. This was not at all grounded. He was Akshay Kumar. In the beginning he was getting into his Kanpuriya character, with the paan and the accent but then all of it vanishes away and he starts overdoing everything. I don’t know whether the 30 day schedule was mandatory or it just happened but it did hamper the pace of the movie and that is why it never solidified his ground as Jolly LLB. So no, even though Akshay Kumar is a veteran actor, this performance is in no way comparable to Virat Kohli’s batting.
FINAL VERDICT – Except for a few Whatsapp jokes and songs which you can watch on Youtube, there is nothing interesting in this movie. I’ll advise you to skip this one and re-watch the original or watch Pink, if you are in the mood for a court-room drama.
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