No One Killed Jessica – Fictional Truth

No One Killed Jessica is based on the recent high profile murder case of Model Jessica Lal by the accused Manu Sharma. This fact was known to almost everybody who went in to see the movie. The promos had revealed it all plus the murder case was in headlines far too long to fade away from public memory. So the best or the worst part of the film was that everybody knew the story and what would happen the minute the film started. The movie indeed has fictionalized the story and has totally fictional characters, ( Rani Mukerji’s Barkha Dutt inspired character has nothing to do with this case in real life), but it was quite apparent that the core of the film is the same as the newspaper headlines that hogged for years.

The movie promises well but the director Raj Kumar Gupta ( of Aamir)  is unable to decide whether to make a hardcore documentary kind of film or fictionalize it and make it more filmy. By Introducing Rani Mukerji as the central character and the ‘voice’ behind the film the maker begins by fictionalizing the facts and mixes up showing true facts. Vidya Balan as Sabrina Lal, the murder victim’s plain-jane sister carries her act fine but then in the 2nd half just gives up the fight and leaves everything for Rani Mukerji’s character to do. The movie has some gripping moments especially initially but the main problem with it as that everything is known right from twists to endings thanks to the case being discussed so much in media. Although Vidya Balan acts quite decent and looks natural as the grieving sister of the murder victim. She does go hyper in some scenes but overall she is the only redeeming factor in this over-the-top fictionalized factual film. Myra portraying murdered Jessica Lal looks quite good and acts well too. Rajesh Sharma as the Inspector with heart actually should have been the protagonist  and voice behind  the movie. Neil Bhoopalam playing the lame duck ‘Shayan Munshi’ character and other people representing lawyers and witnesses and all are ordinary

Coming to the character of Rani Mukerji, Mira. Why does the character have to be based on Barkha Dutt ?  Why is Barkha Dutt the only journalist ever portrayed in films? What is the real Barkha Dutt’s contribution as a journalist? Yes, she was in Kargil and she has covered many other scams but why model Rani’s character based on her? Is real Barkha Dutt like how Rani is portrayed in the film? I doubt so. Does a ‘modern’ career-minded Indian woman has to smoke and mouth Gaalis in every 2nd sentence just to show how ‘ forward’ thinking she is ? Rani Mukerji mouths the choicest of abuses without ever meaning them and needing them. It all looks fake when a dumb Indian flyer describes Kargil war as ‘cool’ as a video game and Rai retors back with a ‘cuss’ word, what was the need of that scene? Was it just created to be used for promos and get silly Indian viewers in the hall expecting Rani Mukerji to be as lewd as in the promo !!! Also why does Barkha and NDTV get credit for everything when they had nothing to do with the real case. Why wasn’t the real people of ‘Tehelka’ given just a Thank you at the end and not the ‘lead’ ? Was NDTV’s inclusion in the film paid for?? I hope Nira Radia didnt fix this deal 🙂

The film has issues with detailing as well and misses out many times on that front. Factual Errors I spotted were wrong dates being used when Vidya is interviewed for the first time on TV, wrong news messages used as ticker tapes in many scenes. Delhi Metro being shown active in 1999 !! Mention of Barack Obama in one of the news headlines in 2000 !! The film looks more fake with such silly mistakes. Camerawork is slightly superior though and the music by Amit Trivedi is quite popular these days although I have my issues with silly song like ‘ aali re saali re, halkat ,moonh phat’ kind of song describing Rani Mukerji.

Personally I did not find the film as engaging as it promised and I was underwhelmed after watching it as perhaps I had expected more from the first film of this decade. The film should have stuck to either serious documentary style of film or a totally masala fictionalized account of the event. In between and mish-mash did not work for me.

My Ratings: 6.5/10 – Not bad but not great either.

P.S. Killer suggestion –  if the makers were really brave enough and waned to make a masala entertainer from thie film then they should have dropped Rani Mukerji and taken SUNNY DEOL as the firebrand reporter. Sunny paji personally man-handling witnesses and lawyers and judge would be some sight and Jessica would have got a favorable judgement rather soon.

Bollywood – What next in 2011?

The year 2010 is gone, well almost. The films have come and films have gone , some have succeeded and many have flopped. The latest release ‘Tees Maar Khan’ did get a big opening weekend but then audiences saw through it and the movie failed from the 4th day and it would barely manage to cover its huge investments of 65 Crores knocking the poor distributors and  taking with it the reputations of its director Farah Khan and actors Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. Many of the small films released this year have done lot better than many big budget disasters.

2011 has quite a few big films releasing in first few weeks itself mainly to avoid the World Cup Cricket to be held from February 2011. First of its release would be Rajkumar Gupta directed thriller ‘No One Killed Jessica’ based on the infamous Jessica Lall murder case starring Rani Mukherji as the firebrand journalist following the case and subtle Vidya Balan as Jessica’s sister. The film does have quite different music loved by many and the promos of the films are quite a Hit with people. The  film does have lot of potential and is eagerly awaited.

Next up is the mad-cap Deol trio comedy ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana‘ starring the 3 Deols. The film’s promos are loved by all and the film promises to be a laugh riot. The music is quite popular and the dialogue promos make the film an exciting prospect. This film releases on 14th Janury.

21st January sees perhaps the biggest film if this half of the year, although not a conventional movie but a movie starring Aamir Khan is always a big proposition. ‘Dhobi Ghat‘ directed by Kiran Rao starring Aamir and Prateik Babbar promises to be a great film and based on early reviews from Toronto Film Festival where this film was shown, this one could perhaps be the best film to come out in a while.

‘Dil toh Baccha hai Jee’ starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Vaidya is another comedy releasing this month in the last week. Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar this film does look different from regular slapstick comedies we have been watching.

Early February also looks busy with Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’ staring Priyanka Chopra and ‘Patiala House’ starring Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma releases. There are many other smaller budget and medium budget films releasing as well.

Let us see if any of the above big budget films succeed in first couple of months of the year 2011 or the trend of small films doing better continues in 2010.

My Bet for the first 2 months – Dhobi Ghat would be the best of the lot,  Yamla Pagla Deewana to collect good box office money and No One Killed Jessica to be the ‘dark horse’.