Mumbai: Director Subhash Kapoor has a knack for slice-of-life films. And he’s been rather good at handling most of them. For Jolly LLB 2, the expectations are of a different level because Kapoor has upped the scale, thanks to the presence of lead man Akshay Kumar. The actor plays the role of struggling lawyer Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly who wrongs a needy woman Hina Siddiqui (Sayani Gupta). His guilt drives him to take up the case of her dead husband who was a victim in a fake encounter. The accused is a cop and Jolly is up against all odds. His adversary in the courtroom is an affluent and powerful lawyer Sachin Mathur (Annu Kapoor). It is a losing battle for Jagdish who has neither the means nor the guile to win a case like this. But somehow in the end, he pulls out a trump.
In his choice of subjects and even in his treatment, Subhash Kapoor has been quite inspired by Rajkumar Hirani. Jolly LLB 2 reminds you a lot of Munnabhai MBBS – the good-hearted protagonist seeking redemption; his humiliation in front of his father; his fight against the system; his eventual rise as the people’s hero. There is sincerity in Kapoor’s making, which is why you can survive even the dreariest of scenes.
To the director’s credit, he’s assembled an outstanding cast, extracted effective performances and delivered a film that wants to mean well. There is nothing extraordinary about the film, its story or even its screenplay. But what sets it apart are the characters Kapoor has created and the way his actors have played them out on screen.
Akshay Kumar gives a finely nuanced performance and has gone to great lengths to become the part, including the way he has looked. Huma Qureshi is very endearing despite the character not having much scope. Annu Kapoor is a powerhouse on screen – he adds dignity even to his vile character. Saurabh Shukla is the film’s biggest highlight and he performs like an ace. The climax is delightful mainly because of the camaraderie between him and Akshay.
While Kapoor takes the Munnabhai route, somewhere he fails to touch the same chords that his inspiration did. That’s mainly because of the slightly old-school treatment of his characters and circumstances.
The film that begins on a breezy note gets intense within the first 20 minutes. The problem is that while Kapoor takes his time establishing all the cheeky and roguish streaks of Jolly in the initial part of the film, he never uses them again when he shows Jolly on his mission. That’s the distinctive difference between Jolly and Munnabhai.
The background score, especially in the emotional scenes, is from another era altogether. The film also suffers from the second half syndrome – it needed to be tighter and more engrossing.
What to do:
Jolly LLB has its flaws but it makes up with its honesty and of course, the superb performances from the cast.