|Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Amrita Rao,Saurabh Shukla|
We don’t think much of him (Arshad Warsi) at the start. He’s come from Meerut to Delhi to make it big. And then the news of a drunk-driving accident that kills five pavement-dwellers fills the media (inspired by the Alistair Pereira case of 2006). Jolly thinks this is the perfect opportunity to earn his place in the sun and immediately files a PIL.
When the media hounds him, he’s ecstatic. That he’s also doing the right thing is a bonus. He also finds a witness who saw the accident and is willing to testify.
All’s swell till the wily opposition advocate (Boman Irani) appears on the scene. A big-gun who doesn’t take Jolly seriously, he plays some crafty moves leaving Jolly floundering.
The film then takes us through Jolly’s journey, fighting off this seasoned advocate and his impeccable reputation. To top it all, the judge (played marvelously by Saurabh Shukla) has just requested this top lawyer to pull some strings for a discount on a property purchase. Does Jolly even stand a chance?
Courtroom dramas are great fun, and are especially satisfying for the audience. In the real world, an advocate like Jolly would have a slim chance, and the case would have stretched on for years. But in films, we have the luxury of idealism. We have a Jolly whose conscience kicks him in the rear when he’s faltering. He takes on the shrewd advocate who represents everything that’s wrong with the profession today.
The coupling of corruption and law is disastrous, and yet we see it happen every day. In films, our hero says and does things that make us feel optimistic; less helpless. Which is why, when Sunny Deol had that outburst, shouting ‘tareek pe tareek’ in Damini, the nation applauded in unison.
And so, I wouldn’t call this film realistic in the true sense of the word. Cases don’t get wrapped up within a few dates. Lawyers don’t have verbal-slinging matches and physical fights in court. But it’s all terribly entertaining in a film.
Add to that some fab performances. Arshad Warsi effortlessly slips into Jolly’s shoes, as he files the case with as much earnestness as he makes Kashmiri pulao for his girlfriend. Saurabh Shukla is the absolute scene-stealer as the portly judge who springs a new surprise at every turn. Boman Irani is delightful as the conceited lawyer who audaciously complains about the lack of AC to the judge, and has his assistants groom him before a case.
Director Subhash Kapoor (Phas Gaye Re Obama) whips up a film that’s entertaining and relevant as well. His innate style is simple, old-school and it’s no wonder that Kapoor is helming the next Munnabhai MBBS film (some strange connection there with titles with professions).
Dialogue, also written by Kapoor, is crackling with humour. The line – ‘bacchca ghar mein bore ho raha hoga. Court mein bula lo’ (the child must be getting bored at home. Might as well call him to the court)— where the judge convinces the advocate to produce his client for questioning is bitingly humorous. Or the effective, even if cheesy line, ‘gareeb ki jaan, ameer ki gaadi se sasti hai’ (the life of poor is cheaper than a rich person’s car).
Kapoor refrains from using melodrama, and expertly pulls of a tricky scene where Warsi has a chance interaction with pavement-dwellers. The humour is distasteful at times, with references of rape and eve-teasing taken too lightly (the joke is the attempt is to find a cop with a clean slate). The lack of technical finesse (dubbed dialogue, average aesthetics) is another deterrent.
If you can overlook that, what you get a fun courtroom drama with crackling performances!
Rating: Three stars