Saeed Mirza's "Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho" is undoubtedly an interesting film, commendable for the welcome sense of humour it displays. The film depicts the machinations of rouguish lawyers helping a rich landlord to evict a poor tenant. The colours used to represent ethical differences in characterization are inevitably black and white. While the lawyers argue against each other in court, they share a bed at night. The poor tenant-client is fleeced and deceived.
As a comment on the legal system, the film makes its point. But, it presses it too far. In one scene, the old couple who are fighting a lawsuit against the landlord sit on the lawns facing the court. They are proud of their struggle, and say as much to each other. There is something monumentally false about such an attitude, which is also presumably meant to be leftist. What the film maker overlooks is that the old couple are fighting not only for a house but for their dignity which is a deeper fight they have been waging all their lives, even before they figured as clients in court. The banality lies in a superficiality that hides behind a cliche.
Yey, the film accomplishes its main task. Mohan Joshi undergoes tribulations to learn that the legal/social system favours the rich. In fact, he learns a deeper lesson, and his death bears testimony to this. He perceives that the inbuilt correctives in the legal system have become its target wakness and defeat the very purpose for which they were instituted. What stands out is a legal system that is not only irrelevant but worse. It is irresolute. Its semiological meaning can only be construed as a callous form of human frustration, having no access to a meaningful reality.