small things

small things
And there was light

Sunday, January 16, 2011

From the eyes of an Amateur Reviewer

Its been almost two days I have started this blog...and I am yet to write about one of my passions 'movies'... rather would call a movie review.. I watch more or less every movie, the hits the flops the pathetic ones more or less whatever bollywood releases I rarely miss it and the figure is 50% for hollywood movies because of availability of bolly movies. One of my colleagues I would call her Big Smile Lady(BSL) from the City of Joy says I dont understand how can you watch anything and everything like this. But my simple answer is to know how good a movie can be I must know the other extreme isnt it? So apparently I realize I dont watch movies to enjoy it or like it or hate it I watch it to "Review It" . There are few of my colleagues who would ask me before going for a movie and incidentally my review has never disappointed them. So continuing on the same lines I decided to put in black n white. And I would pick up a real safe bet to start with the very own latest buzz No One Killed Jessica -NOKJ  I would call it now onwards the name is quite long otherwise.

No One Killed Jessica
I would say NOKJ has a wisely chosen topic which emotionally touches the heart of everyone in this country plus time of its release which I would say is the right time i.e. within an year of SC's verdict of life time imprisonment for Manu Sharma. It is a time when neither is the battle is on alongwith its controversies nor it has faded in our memories.

NOKJ begins with narration of Delhi by Mira Geyti the strong, openminded and tough talking journalist which has been stretched a little too long. I would have liked if Delhi was showed in little positive light too alongwith men in buses brushing them intentionally against women or fights in the midst of traffic signals where people are pulling each others' collars.

But otherwise when a movie on a real life incident is made it always runs the risk of being a soulless documentary which puts together newspaper headlines in a meaningless collage. But hatsoff to the filmmaker and the actors who have managed to put together a movie which has more or less a balanced ingredient of dramatization and depiction of a true story.

It starts with a phone call to Sabrina Lall who recieves a call at 2.30 a.m at night in 29th April 1999 about Jessica being shot and ends at the final verdict by court in 2006 where Manu Sharma gets imprisonment. I am not a Vidya Balan fan nor am I a Rani Mukherjee fan, though I might have appreciated Rani Mukherjee in few of her roles havent really been able to do so for Vidya Balan in any of her movies be it Parineeta or Paa (for which she has even got an award).

But its one of those movies where I had to shed all my previous inhibitions and appreciate Vidya Balan as the drab, bespectacled plain jane Sabrina Lall who steals the show with quiet courage, her fantabulous ordinariness and her complete disbelief at how someone with a pistol in his hand and power in his head could shoot down somebody for a mere drink. She potrays it in a grim, hopeless, desolate and a subdued manner like any citizen, moving around in Delhi's Public Transport, trying to bring witnesses to talk. 

Mira played by Rani Mukherji is a strong independent woman prods the establishment into reviewing the case, she smokes, has sex, is foul mouthed uses the 'F' word too frequently. She calls herself bitch and her hair stays in place always (I am amazed).

NOKJ shows how media sometimes does things just to add that masala or just to get those headlines but apart from all it shows the power of media. One of the most hilarious yet a lot meaningful scenes of NOKJ is when the murderer's ghoonghat clad mother says "kuch bhi kar lo mere Monu ko kuch nahi hona chahiye" she repeats it thrice but I felt its o.k as it shows how the families of the powerhouses think and what is the kind of upbringing these typical nawabzaades have.

One of the strong performances is by actor Rajesh Sharma who plays the cop in Jessica's case In one scene he tells Sabrina that he has taken a bribe of 70 lakhs for not beating the murderer in the Jail. Sabrina looks at him with a shock and he says 'Sab koi khata hai kaunsi duniya me rehti hai aap'. NOKJ very clearly potrays the layers  of power and how ruthlesslessly powerless are silenced. How every witness in the case either left by 12 o clock or is not sure. It is not a movie for those who are expecting courtroom drama like "tareekh pe tareekh" nor is a movie for those who want a total dramatized version of a true story with people shouting and crying at the top of their voices. But I am still amazed how smoothly the story has been told in a subtle yet interesting manner.

NOKJ has its own flaws, one thing that is repeatedly shown is Mira Geyti's denial of covering this case by calling it a simple case, which seemed a little unneccessary. Another foolish potrayal is a high society woman asking for AC in a police station or Mira memicrying Sabrina to record confession of one of the witness was too filmy a situation, I think these mistakes could have been avoided. Some of the things like the candle march has been stretched a little too long. It would have been better if NOKJ focussed more on the case proceedings, what the family went through than Mira's yoga, smoke, lifestyle and too much focus on media's intervention and power. The first half is a little too long and NOKJ ends a little abruptly.

But apart from everything and with ignorance of few flaws in it, NOKJ contains superlative performances by its actors, everyone watching it knows that the witnesses would turn hostile but still you watch it with a hope that may be they wont and get a shock when they do. It makes one angry, makes one feel the rage, the empathy, the restlessness, it makes you frustrated about the problems in our administrative and legal system. But at the end it fills one with hope and confidence, it shows the power of the ordinary towards justice.  It shows how the whole nation came together for Justice for Jessica and showed how the powerhouse is actually inside the common man and not with those whose who of the so called system.

All this makes NOKJ a must watch.

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