Bit late in putting up this review but here goes.
Jolly LLB (the first movie) is one of my favourite Hindi (Bollywood) films. So despite hearing mixed reviews about the second part I decided to watch it.
First off can I just say that I hate it when big studios are involved in casting decisions because in this movie they decided to replace Arshad Warsi with Akshay Kumar who is obviously a much bigger star. I thought this took away part of Jolly’s charm of being a small movie with the big impact.
Jolly LLB 2, also a legal drama, is set in Lucknow where Jolly (a completely different character, not related to the first one) is the fifteenth assistant of a top lawyer/ex-nawab. Raging to get out of the class-bound system that his father had to be a part of, Jolly is raising money to bribe an official to get his own chambers. Desperate, he cheats Hina Siddiqui, who has been trying to get his boss to take her case. Why does he take money from an obviously financially disadvantaged, extremely pregnant lady instead of the more rich, less-desperate looking clients that his famous boss must surely have? We don’t know. Perhaps to move the plot along. So as suspected, Hina is devastated when she realises Jolly’s deceit. He is so classy, he is actually having a holi party where he is busy dancing when Hina appears to confront him.
Unfortunately she is so troubled, she commits suicide. Jolly is mildly disturbed with bad nightmares and so decides to take on Hina’s case (which until this point he hasn’t even bothered to look into). We then learn that Hina’s husband was killed in an ‘encounter’ by the police in an elaborate set-up which accused him of being a terrorist. Jolly files a PIL against the guilty police inspector and Annu Kapoor plays a famous lawyer who becomes his opponent.
The rest of the movie is how the case moves to its conclusion. May I take a moment to discuss Jolly’s wife Pushpa played by the talented Huma Qureshi? I understand they were trying to show some sort of deep portrayal of the different layers of a woman in India’s small towns. Unfortunately Pushpa comes across as a drunk, self-obsessed, ditzy character with a frightening lack of a conscience. A woman commits suicide because her (Pushpa’s) husband cheated her but Pushpa doesn’t say a word. Her husband is potentially going to lose his license to practice law and is fighting a murder trial, she decides to rent a Gucci dress and go out on a date. I have to stop because it is beyond my understanding.
Though I feel incredibly bad for Hina in the movie can I just quickly say, young dreamy-eyed girls, if you are reading this, try to postpone your wedding if your fiance is in jail, even if he’s innocent, I know.. I know… it’s so hard to book that perfect wedding venue and you’ve already selected such a great menu and all your friends are coming BUT people will understand if you postpone. Because JAIL. Also, if you really can’t postpone the wedding (understandably because the florist is refusing to return your deposit) try not to get pregnant when he’s only out on bail and has handcuffs on and there are policemen waiting outside the bedroom door. Make the right decision ladies, real life is vastly different from Fifty Shades of Grey.
All this aside I just want to say, I found this movie failing to be the fantastic dark comedy that it’s predecessor was. Saurabh Shukla whose lunch scene in the first movie was comedy cinema at its best, is forced to dance in sunglasses and give a monologue on how much he likes Alia Bhatt. The previous movie was so unique, funny and gritty and real at the same time that I was quite disappointed with this one.
However, if you haven’t seen the first film and have nothing to compare it to, then this one isn’t too bad and Akshay Kumar tries his best to do justice to the script. There are also a few scenes like Saurabh Shukla editing a wedding card in the courtroom that show glimpses of the originality of the first film. I’m probably one of the few people who didn’t like the movie too much because it’s become a massive box office hit so I’m guessing the studio execs do know what they are doing.