Everyone looks forward to the New Year, but Bollywood is an exception. January is perceived to be an unfavourable month to release films. Barring a few films like RANG DE BASANTI (2006) GURU (2007) and ISHQIYA (2010), most films released during this month have flopped. NO ONE KILLED JESSICA (NOKJ) might just change the tide.
Based on the real life incident of Jessica Lall's murder, NOKJ had already generated enough buzz and curiosity. The remaining kasar
was completed by the OTT promotions, which also saw Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan kiss (literally) and make up! This is also Rani's comeback movie of sorts after a forgetful DIL BOLE HADIPPA.
In an eminent Delhi Night club, the drinks are flowing, the night is young and the music is rocking. Everyone's having a gala time in one of the best happening parties in town! But when bartender Jessica (Myra Karn) refuses to give Manish (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub) a drink, it spells doom. In a rage, he shoots her at point-blank. She succumbs to her injuries while being taken to a hospital.
With about 300 of Delhi's who's who present at the party, Manish's imprisonment is imminent. But as they say, money makes the impossible possible. Witnesses are bought and the evidences are tampered, all thanks to his Haryana cabinet minister father. The court trial begins and after many years, the bade baap ki bigdi hui aulad
Manish and his partners in crime are set free due to witnesses turning hostile and lack of sufficient proof. A distraught sister Sabrina Lall (Vidya Balan) loses all hope.
Meera (Rani Mukherjee), a spunky TV journalist who had covered the Indo-Pak Kargil war, had ignored this story till now. She thought it was 'an open and shut case'. Determined to bring the culprits to justice, she now starts working on the story which gains momentum from the aam junta
It's not an easy task making a film on a story that has been extensively covered and followed by the media; but director Rajkumar Gupta (of AAMIR fame) does that immaculately. He blends fact and fiction with precision, which results in an entertaining outcome.
The innovative title sequence involving newspaper headlines, along with Delhi's introduction sets the tempo right. Jessica's murder, deftly portrayed by Rajkumar Gupta, is disturbing. At the same time, it evokes fury for Manish. The film shows how people, when united and unwavering, can bring about change. The use of brazen language shown in the film is palpable and never gets offensive.
It's a good film no doubt, but certain drawbacks prevent it from being a tout, slick and great film. The pre-interval portion isn't engaging enough. Sabrina's hapless condition consumes a lot of screen time. Also, the court proceedings aren't very riveting. A tighter second half could have certainly elevated the overall impact.
Although it's based on a grim issue, the treatment isn't arduous. The strong dialogues coupled with lighter moments provide the right balance. Manish's mother's constant 'Mere bete ko kuch nahin hona chahiye
'mutter is uproarious. The police officer saying, 'Lete sab hai, vajag alag alag hai', while talking about bribes is hard-hitting. But it could have done away with flimsy scenes like Meera speaking perfectly like Sabrina over the phone.
Amit Trivedi's music is perfect for the film. Aarti Bajaj's editing could have been better. Anay Goswami's cinematography is damn good.
Rani Mukherjee is excellent. She plays a feisty journalist to perfection. You wish she had more scenes in the first half. Vidya Balan underplays her part wonderfully. Watch her in the confrontation scene with Rani. Myra is excellent and has a bright future. Neil Bhoopalam who plays the key witness, is good. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub is so convincing that you are full of hatred each time he appears on screen. Rajesh Sharma (ISHQIYA fame), the frustrated and powerless investigating police officer performs well. Satyadeep Misra, who plays Meera's boss, is natural. Shireesh Sharma, the politician-father, is passable.
NO ONE KILLED JESSICA is a poignant drama that makes you think. It shows what people and media can do, even if means challenging the system and the judiciary. It surely does justice to the entire Jessica Lall case. Don't miss it!