Rani Mukerjiís Meera Geyti is a firebrand TV journalist and her voiceover starts the film. The character talks about Delhi and how she hasnít yet managed to figure out the city. But she does feel the city is drunk on power and ďeverybodyís a somebody in DelhiĒ.
Geyti is covering the Kargil war and ticking off curious air passengers who thank her for the entertaining coverage. We like her immediately.
Her character is delicately nuanced (even if slightly exaggerated) - whether itís smoking on the terrace of her home, shouting for pickle at dinner while watching the news, or her straightforward manner of talking.
Sheís a delight, and more so is Rani Mukerji essaying the part. A powerhouse actor anyway, Mukerji raises the bar giving one of her careerís most honest and memorable performances.
Equally evocative is the underplayed performance by Vidya Balan as Jessicaís sister Sabrina. While Mukerjiís story track comes alive only in the second half of the movie, Balan is present throughout.
The story slowly veers towards the fateful night when a ministerís son and his friends shoot model Jessica Lall for refusing to serve them a drink. Sabrina finds an ally in an honest cop (Rajesh Sharma, fab), but the odds seem stacked against them.
The film then trails the case over the years with witnesses threatened, justice delayed, and ultimately denied. But Sabrina, who is all set to give up, finds a new ray of hope.
One of the most priceless scenes of the film is where the murdererís ghoonghat-clad mother tells her minister husband ďkuch bhi karo, mere Monu ko kuch nahin hona chahiyeĒ. But did this important (it speaks volumes about the murdererís upbringing) scene need to be repeated thrice?
Repetition is a recurring issue in the film. The fact that Geyti mistakes the Jessica story to be a simple case is also reiterated several times.
Another sore point with the film is the portrayal of high-society as caricatures. It is hard to believe that a socialite would sit in a police station and ask for the AC to be switched on.
Rajkumar Gupta, who directed the film Aamir in 2008 doesnít want the viewer to be bogged down by the subject. His effort in injecting drama and tempo in the storytelling makes the film accessible to a mainstream audience. But the pace slackens at times.
One of the filmís stronger points is Amit Trivediís addictive music whether itís the Dilli Dilli or the Aali Re song. Disappointingly, the songs arenít propped up the way you expect after watching the promos.
But on the upside, there are some superb touches like Sabrinaís journey of meeting the witnesses portrayed through food, the awkward scene between the parents of the perpetrator and the victim, and the candlelight march.
The performances by the central cast are superlative, and equally praiseworthy is a massive performance by the supporting cast.
No One Killed Jessica is not as audacious and pacy as the promos would have you believe. But the film manages to do one very crucial thing: it evokes your sentiments. You feel empathy, rage, helplessness, and triumph at every step of the way with our two female heroes.
So even if there are a few flaws, the film moves you. And nothing is above that. A must-watch!
Rating: 3.5 stars