No One Killed Jessica
- 2h 16min
A journalist, who is more of an activist teams up with the sister of a murdered model, as she gets interested in the case and wants to bring justice to her case.A journalist, who is more of an activist teams up with the sister of a murdered model, as she gets interested in the case and wants to bring justice to her case.A journalist, who is more of an activist teams up with the sister of a murdered model, as she gets interested in the case and wants to bring justice to her case.
That's not just my opinion. All the people leaving the 75% occupied theater had the same feeling. One of them clapped when the movie finished. Others were silent admirers.
I understand it's not the best way to start a film review but what's the point in beating around the bush when something is clear from the onset. It feels really good when you are looking forward to a film and when you watch it; it not just delivers just what you wanted it to deliver but also surprises you with something additional.
To start with, No One Killed Jessica (NOKJ) is not just an ordinary film. It's a film with an imperative story to tell and a gigantic point to make. It shows a ferocious face of the society but it also shows how sometimes hope comes in from an unforeseen source.
Starting with a slightly protracted monologue by Rani, NOKJ takes you back to the 1999 case mentioned above and opens one page of history after another. The first half is 100% based on truth, the second half goes a bit filmy adding some necessary Bollywood touches to the story. The good thing, however, is that the story has been kept near original as much as possible. How Jessica was killed, how the witnesses turned hostile and how the judicial system responded to the whole thing. The filmy twist is Rani Mukherjee taking control of the proceedings to bring justice to the Lall family. It might not have happened the way it is shown in the film but it did eventually happen.
Vidya Balan has done an extraordinary job. Languorous body language as the nerdy girl, poignant expressions of a broken yet determined sister and angry demeanor of someone who has given up hope; she has handled it all very well. It's difficult to say that its one of her best performances because with Ishqiya, she has raised her bar too high to better. Nonetheless, almost flawless. The costume designer has given her shapeless masculine clothes which add to the barefacedness of her role.
I am not a Rani Mukherjee fan but I have to admit that she too has put up a wonderful show in NOKJ. The first surprise was her look. She looks matured but certainly not bad. She was never skinny but here she oozes sex appeal. Surprising, as far as I am concerned. Her performance is very vigorous. She has restrained herself from going over the top which has helped the cause. Her chemistry with the co-star Satyadeep Mishra as her boss is very natural. She is one actress who is very good at swearing and she gets a free-hand at that in NOKJ. Her portrayal of Meera; she is probably playing Barkha Dutt here; is a woman who is opportunistic, street smart and a self-proclaimed bitch. Rare.
Supporting cast is perfectly assembled. Rajesh Sharma has grabbed the most powerful role of his career; much stronger than Ishqiya and Khosla KA Ghosla. Satyadeep Mishra is also good in his cameo and should get bigger outings in the future. Geeta Sudan as Jessica's mother is brilliant in a couple of scenes. Samara Chopra as Naina Sehgal is the best of the lot. Her court scene with the lawyer is stunning.
I loved Rajkumar Gupta's Aamir and was looking forward to the director's next outing. Just like Aamir, he has picked up an interesting and important subject and has treated it in a similar unglamorous way. He will probably never work with Yash Chopra and Karan Johar. I particularly liked the director's attention to detail in this drama. Showing Windows 98 on the monitor screen in old scenes, old Pepsi logo on the walls, absence of mobile phones etc. were small things which could have been overlooked. There was a minor hiccup though when they failed to spot IDEA mobile's banners in the background of a shot. Cinematography could have been better though. Unnecessary addition of some humor could also be avoided.
What happened to Jessica Lall could happen to any of our friends or family. We all live in similar societies at the end of the day. If we are not immune to such events, we need to have the courage to stand up for our right and fight for it till the end. It might not become a big success, films like this don't. It will still remain one of the finest films to come out of Indian cinema lately. More so, because it covers an important subject. For me, it was a much needed relief after the underwhelming Tees Maar Khan experience.
- Jan 6, 2011