Jolly LLB 2 movie review.

Director- Subhash Kapoor
Starring- Akshay Kumar and Huma Qureshi
Rating- 3.5 stars

Two actors playing lawyers in the court room. One enunciates every word; the other almost screams through his lines. One gives meaning and depth to his words, the other struggles with saliva, fuming at the corner of his mouth and in your head you go, ‘bro, say, don’t spray.’ It’s at this moment that you realize how the natural talent mercilessly exposes the limitations of the other. Who’s who, is for me to know and you to guess!!

On the face of it, apna Jolly is a novice indulging in petty crimes because he knows the loopholes in the law. At home, he is the hen-pecked husband of lush, Pushpa Panday(Huma) who loves whisky, Gucci dresses and her chubby son in that order. But these are just asides and not the main premise of courtroom drama, which in many ways follows the template of the 2013 prequel, Jolly LLB.

Jolly LLB addresses many issues; terrorism, corruption, government officials’ apathy and does a fair job of it. But it’s a Hindi film. It has to crack jokes; after all it’s an Akshay Kumar massy film yaar. So like most Hindi films, it runs on two parallels; an important murder case and a bunch of jokes that have little or no relevance in the film.
Sample this.

The judge’s daughter is getting married. The typo on her wedding card, ‘Sangeeta wets Dev’ is funny but hardly has any connection with the film. Also the phone conversations about how she wants a Manish Malhotra lehnga on her wedding in the middle of an important case proceeding is just forced. Humor needs to be intrinsic, not an afterthought and though it makes quite a comment on our system, it derails the plot of the film multiple times and you are like, GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!! Zoya Akhtar is the only director who has used Manish Malhotra jokes, making a comment on the industry designers with a very effective context to the film, Luck By Chance.

Writer-director Subhash Kapoor who has studied India’s burgeoning legal system of `I-will-see-you-in-court’, definitely knows as much about the Indian Penal Code as most legal sharks because of his deep study of the subject. While the last instalment dealt with a hit-n-run case, this one deals with the case of mistaken identity of a J & K terrorist. The plot has enough laugh-out-loud situations and emotional outbursts to keep you invested especially in the razor-sharp first half. The film also provides the right dose of action inside and outside the courtroom. With cops playing villains and terrorists changing religions, legal greenhorn Jolly finds himself dodging bullets in Kanpur, Lucknow and Manali(doubling up for Kashmir.)

Post interval though, the film hits a pause button at times. The maker tries to pack in too much legal diatribe between Jolly and his adversary, the topnotch, Pramod Mathur(Annu Kapoor), in Judge Tripathy’s (Saurabh Shukla, delightful as always) Lucknow courtroom. Their weighty arguments do educate and entertain to some degree. But there are portions that seem contrived.

Akshay changes shades from crooked to straight, like a chameleon. In top-form, he puts up a perfect display of a street-smart lawyer who hasn’t read legal tomes but who has instead picked up tips from courtroom corridors to become Jolly LLB. Huma and Annu are also compelling enough. It is the fine display of histrionics by all these refined actors, which makes the movie, worth seeing.

Subhash Kapoor handles many departments; story, direction, screenplay, though he scores high as a dialogue writer. The repartee among the lawyers and the judge in the courtroom has a good wordplay.
Akshay Kumar usually strikes a balance with Housefuls and Airlifts of the world. Either he is the uncouth-bachche-ki-jaan-lega types or pulls a somber Rustom face on us. In Jolly he mixes both and doesn’t offer anything new that we haven’t seen.

Anu Kapoor plays a flamboyant lawyer. Why? We have no clue, but he is sharper than his sharp tuxedos and brighter than his shiniest pair of shoes. He delivers his dialogues with such conviction that it’s applause worthy.
Kumudh Mishra once again acts brilliantly with his eyes and shows what an underrated actor he is. We want to see him as a central character in a film!! Saurabh Shukla evokes a laugh or two as well.
Alas the narrative of the film is extremely incoherent. There is no nail biting investigation but a couple of witnesses, whose stories, the writers don’t invest in at all. They are used like diapers and thrown leaving you disconnected.
If the film focused on the crime, without trying too hard to make it easy-breezy and crack jokes that don’t have much context to the film, it would have made for a far more compelling story.

Post interval though, the film hits a pause button at times. The maker tries to pack in too much legal diatribe between Jolly and his adversary, the topnotch, Pramod Mathur(Annu Kapoor), in Judge Tripathy’s (Saurabh Shukla, delightful as always) Lucknow courtroom. Their weighty arguments do educate and entertain to some degree. But there are portions that seem contrived.

There is absolutely nothing in this film that you don’t already know about the legal system. Or, haven’t faced it first-hand yourself. Or accessed even better films (Chaitanya Tamhane’s brilliant ‘Court’, for one), or books (Ranjeev S Dubey’s ‘Legal Confidential’, in particular) on the same subject. I mean, how seriously should one even take a picture about a public interest litigation (PIL) that is being argued in a lower court, while the Supreme Court is the only place this can ever happen.

Clearly the Bombay High Court took it seriously enough to ask for scenes to be deleted altogether — a move that was as unprecedented as it was unexpected. If anything, one ought to admire the current government in Uttar Pradesh that’s been offering stupendous sops to filmmakers to shoot in the state, while the films are often deeply critical of the state itself.

This one captures UP in all its notorious glory, with goons, and guns. Newbie Jolly is up against the jaded, jugaadu advocate (Annu Kapoor; in his element, as always), who can swing any case in his favour, and steer it just the way you’d like it to. Sitting atop both is the cuddly judge (Saurabh Shukla), absolutely the most endearing aspect of this film; albeit in an obvious sort of way.

Akshay changes shades from crooked to straight, like a chameleon. In top-form, he puts up a perfect display of a street-smart lawyer who hasn’t read legal tomes but who has instead picked up tips from courtroom corridors to become Jolly LLB. Huma and Annu are also compelling enough. It is the fine display of histrionics by all these refined actors, which makes the movie, worth seeing.
THE RATINGS MEAN:
5 stars: Loved it. (This could make to top ten movies you must watch before you die!)
4 stars: Liked it. Recommend it. (This will help you sound intellectual and give you stuff to add at water cooler conversations.)
3 stars: Didn’t hurt. Watch it once.
2 stars: It put me to sleep. Watch it if you are an insomniac or a newly wedded couple. Winks!
1 star: Do we even need to explain this?

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