“Jhooth bola? Chal, murga bann aur bol kukdooku” – as the pudgy judge in “Jolly LLB” Saurabh Shukla, like a Government school masterji, reprimands the blubbering witness. In another instance, he quietly remarks, “Kanoon andha hota, judge nahin.” The rib-tickler of the film is a scene where a stammering lawyer with an odd shrill of a voice, in order to save his client, sings a song, and boy does that bring a naughty smile on our face everytime we hear it – Mere to law lag gaye. It is in these moments of wit seasoned with drama that make Subhash Kapoor’s “Jolly LLB” so organic. There is enough courtroom drama, but not one where you hear Sunny Deol waving his dhai kilo ka haath and shouting taareekh pe taareekh, where the camera pans to our blindfolded lady in white holding the proverbial insaaf ka taraazoo or where mothers in white sarees faint and heroes and villains fight in the open. No. Kapoor takes us to the real courts of India, to the real ‘vakil sahabs’ stuffed like sardines in hot sweaty courtrooms, to their chambers that operate in court’s open grounds, to the process of painful litigations, endless arguments, maze of manipulations, power politics, and blatant subversion of the legal system. Nothing really is black and white in these corridors. Kapoor reinstates the ugly truth that justice is delayed, often denied, and rarely delivered.
The film opens with a rich boy drinking and driving, and mauling six labourers sleeping on the footpath to death. It’s a classic hit and run case India is more than familiar with. It is also a classic case of the powerful versus the powerless. It’s in these filmi folds of clichés that Kapoor’s genius shines, extracting the reality of our legal lines - in dialogues like “yeh courtroom hai, yahan jaldi kuch nahin hota,” or “teen crore cases pending hai iss desh main.” His actors – Arshad Warsi as the conscience keeper Jagdish Tyagi Jolly who wants to make it big and Boman Irani as the sharp and suave devil’s advocate Tejinder Rajpal are convincing. Shukla as Judge Triphati and Sanjay Misra as Guruji are spot on. He could’ve done without Warsi and Amrita Rao love angle.
Although the film could’ve dug a little deeper and made the journey a little tougher for Warsi’s character, it still is a piece of entertainment worth watching. Like his previous film, “Phas Gaye Re Obama,” Kapoor gives us a flip side to India, its true colours, its real people.