NO ONE KILLED JESSICA: EXPLOSIVE!
What an amazing film to start off the New Year with! RajKumar Gupta lives up to his Aamir expectation and gives us yet another powerful film that lingers on even after the credits have rolled. Though I was aware of the Jessica Lall murder case but after watching this film, I came home and re-read everything pertaining to the case and I am sure that like me, the many thousands who saw the film probably did the same. Over four years after the Jessica Lall case has stopped making headlines, RajKumar Gupta has given us another reason to never forget the injustice that money and power is capable of and the power that the media and the people’s voices are capable of! I couldn’t take my eyes off for even a minute of this 2 and a half hours plus thrilling ride that unfolded on screen staying very true to the real incident.
On a summer night in a high society club in Delhi, model Jessica Lall was the celebrity bar tender for the evening when Manish Bharadwaj, the son of a politician shot her at point blank range… injuring her fatally and all this because she refused to make him a drink after the bar was closed! Is that all her life was worth… one drink? This is the question Jessica’s sister, Sabrina, raises to everyone as she stakes her life to fight for Jessica. No One Killed Jessica is a docu-drama that tells the story of the Jessica Lall murder case albeit, with elements to make it an edge-of-the-seat, gripping thriller.
No One Killed Jessica grips you from the word go, just after the titles roll the first thing you see is what happened at the party where Jessica gets shot while on the other side the media’s is covering Kargil War stories. As you descend into Sabrina’s world of the struggle for justice, the ride gets even more brutal… witnesses turning hostile, frustration, desperation, grief, anger, betrayal and there’s so much more that Sabrina has to face and Vidya Balan depicts this so, so, so well! Even her make up and costume have been kept very real so as to not deter from the essence of the character. What I really liked was this one scene where a frustrated Vidya is just letting the water pour over her head in the shower… even here she has her specs on which kind of keeps the scene real … it’s not another cheap sexy bathroom shot… it maintains the character’s authenticity. Almost the entire first half is dominated with Vidya and the first 6-7 years of the case.
Rani’s character Meera is a firebrand! You get a sample of her in the first half but she only explodes on screen in the second half. She’s a cutthroat, shrewd, rude, intelligent bit*h and she gets what she wants. Rani rules the second half as she initiates a campaign to gather the people’s support for justice in the Jessica murder case. The second half is just as gripping as the first though it slags a little towards the end with the extended music over the peace protests. Though the sting ops are wonderfully executed.
Besides Rani and Vidya the entire cast gives a fantastic support. Kudos to Neil Bhoopalam who plays Vikram, a prime witness in the case, his performance is very real from embarrassment to shame to just plain indifferent. Another actor who’s performed brilliantly is the actor who plays the investigating inspector… his brutal honestly is applause worthy. Though there were a few characters that felt caricatured like the accused Manish Bharadwaj’s mother … I do realize that her saying “Monu” is significant but it just felt overdone. Even the defendant’s lawyer Mr. Pundit was unsatisfactory … he really seemed to be hamming his scenes.
Another feature that makes this movie so thrilling is Amit Trivedi’s music … what a perfect score; it sets the mood just right for an impactful film like this one. This Dev-D combo of Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya spins out some fabulous tracks for No One Killed Jessica, “Dilli” is already a hit but all the other tracks are good as well… my personal favourite is “Aetbar.”
Overall I’d say No One Killed Jessica definitely deserves our attention and it’s a must watch to begin the New Year with a bang! And I hope 2011 continues to bring us such explosive, thought provoking cinema in the Fridays to come.