Jolly LLB 2: Going Beyond Rave Reviews

So, the movie Jolly LLB 2 has presumably succeeded in living up to the hype. With critics and moviegoers hailing it alike and collections nearing the mark of 50 crores on just the third day of its release, it is set to be a sure shot success.

Wikipedia describes it as a Black Comedy. A black comedy it is, indeed. Behind the witty dialogues, comical but profound characters like Sundar Lal Tripathi, there lies a bigger issue. In fact, a lot of big issues that behind the garb of funny one-liners, the movie manages to capture perfectly well.

This is not a movie review for Jolly LLB 2. The internet is rife with such reviews. The movie displays incredible attention to detail and a brilliant script. However, I wish they had eliminated the songs though. They just don’t make any sense!! Other than that, yes I loved the movie.

But this post looks behind the wit, comedy, and the fun, trying to highlight the real message that the movie attempts to convey.

Talent is everything, or is it?

So, the movie opens with Akshay Kumar, our Jolly LLB 2 arriving to help students cheat on their Class X board exams. In the first scene itself, we get to know that Jolly is not someone to fool around with.

Another scene where he ingeniously helps the poor man in getting his name on the FIR imprints this further into our minds.

But, after all this brilliance, where exactly does he stand?

Working as a personal assistant cum cook cum chauffeur for in Rizvi who thinks of Jolly as an extension of his accountant father.

We spend a better part of our academic life learning that talent speaks for itself. But as soon as we enter the real world, this belief receives a brutal thrashing.

We know that sometimes, talent is the last thing you need to make it big in the industry. More often than not, you need a family background and well-placed connections to land a great job.

Every law graduate who has ever tried to search for a job know this a tad too well. The movie manages to highlight it in the best possible manner.

Kyun ki senior lawyer bhi kabhi junior lawyer tha?

A cliche, but true. Senior lawyers, or seniors in any profession for that matter, seem to forget their roots and origins.

Mr. Mathur, is the quintessential face of a senior lawyer. Impeccably dressed, with interns and assistants swarming about catering to his every whim. At the same time, he is arrogant and snobbish; treating junior lawyers like pieces of scum. At one point of time, he even makes fun of Jolly’s cheap Terylene shirt and humble origins.

How many of us have received a similar treatment at the hands of our bosses, whether during a job or an internship?

A tad too many, I am guessing.

While this is a common practice across most professions, Jolly LLB 2 manages to depict it in the exact manner in which it exists in the legal profession.

In my own personal experience, I have been told by my senior not to wish him good morning and have even been compared to a tadpole. Yes, you read that right. A tadpole. Go figure that.

Makes us only wish that they would remember their own days as junior lawyers when they were still struggling to make their mark, doesn’t it?

InEquality for all

Everyone is equal in the eyes of law, or at least this is what we learn in school.

But, come into the real world and you soon realise that nothing can be farther from the truth. Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. This holds especially true in the legal field.

Mr. Mathur is free to insult Jolly as much as he likes. But Jolly slaps him on genuine provocation, and all hell breaks loose. Too similar to the real world, isn’t it?

Even when a junior lawyer is right, seldom does he dare to speak against his senior. The fear of rebuke, or even worse, getting fired looms large in face of such situations.

Reading beyond the characters

Jolly LLB 2 features all types of characters from all walks of life.

We have the typical middle-class father who has spent all his life bowing down to the well known Attorney Mr. Rizvi, just to work and retire with respect. We have the typical ruthless and corrupt cop who does not refrain from engaging into bribery and even releases a terrorist for the sake of money.

We somehow see all of us in Jolly and in his loyal friend, we see that friend who will be with us through thick and thin.

But, Suarabh Shukla as the Jolly (pun intended) judge takes the cake. He is the slightly exaggerated version of a regular district court judge. A doting father who is worried about his daughter’s wedding, even perfecting his dance moves in the court complex to perform at the Sangeet.

But, as and when the time comes for him to take the reins of the courtroom in his hands, he does not even hesitate for a moment. Nor does he become partial to Mr. Mathur just because he is a Senior lawyer, giving him and Jolly equal opportunity to present their points.

This brings out multiple layers to the brilliantly played character by Saurabh Shukla. First, behind the monochrome dresses and somber outward appearance, lies an everyday family man. Second, judges are allowed to have a little fun. Third, having a little fun does not mean they are incapable of acting as an impartial judge and doing their duty.

Raising the Bar, or setting it on a different frequency

What is Black, wears a coat, and cannot be trusted?

Your guess is right. A lawyer.

An image of a black snake with this quote has been doing the rounds of social media. Perpetuating the image that lawyers are devious beings.

Initially, the movie also depicts the same image of a lawyer. When Jagdish Prasad aka Jolly LLB 2 dupes the pregnant woman Hina for a sum of Rs. 2 lakh, our image of that greedy lawyers becomes even stronger.

But try to look at the cause of this behaviour, and the picture becomes pretty clear.

Jolly needed that money to buy himself a chamber. He needed a chamber to build his practice. It wouldn’t have been possible to earn good money without his own chamber. No money without a chamber and no chamber without money.

A catch-22 situation, isn’t it?

Every budding lawyer goes through it which makes Jolly an instantly likable, and relatable character, especially for young lawyers and law students.

So, it’s not the greed but the need that makes him behaves that way.

Jolly’s humane side quickly becomes visible when he decides to take on the system against all odds, just to win justice for Hina.

Akshay Kumar as Jolly LLB 2 switches between these different layers with extreme ease, staying true to feelings that an average lawyer goes through every day in his practice.

The not so funny tale

Jolly LLB 2 is meant to be a funny movie. Something that the youth and families can enjoy alike.

But behind the funny exterior, it carries the grim tale of reality with it. This slightly exaggerated dramatic version of everyday courtroom proceedings hits the nail right on the head.

Not only does it manage to put the issues with Indian legal system in the spotlight, it manages to do it in a lighthearted manner. Thus making sure that the message reaches the masses and is understood well.

The final verdict

All in all, Jolly LLB 2 has been successful in conveying this message to its real target, that is, the legal professionals. In light of this message, here are a few suggestions for my legal fraternity.

To the senior lawyers, Dear sirs, please do not forget where you started and do not treat junior lawyers as your sidekicks. Who knows, like Jolly they also outsmart you in court someday.

A rather personal request, please, please do not compare your women employees to tadpoles and frogs, just to explain them the difference between a civil petition and an SLP. Pretty please???

To the judiciary, please don’t fall prey to the tricks and tactics of senior lawyers. Give juniors at least equal chance, if not more.

To my fellow lawyers, money is important folks!! But try your best not to stoop down from your ethical standards for it. Better to have your conscience clear from the beginning , instead of having a change of heart later.

Last, but not the least, a note to the director. Dear director, you have done an outstanding job. A courtroom drama like Jolly LLB 2 was a treat to watch. But, please limit the drama to the movie only and don’t extend it to meaningless, nonsensical, and completely unnecessary songs. By all means, make another courtroom drama like Jolly LLB 2. We will be eagerly waiting, but this time minus the quintessential Bollywood songs please.

Author: Pragya Chaturvedi is the legal editor at PocketLawyer. She specializes in intellectual property laws and believes that movies have the power to influence masses. Through this post, she attempts to convey her appreciation for this movie as it perfectly captures everything that is wrong with the Indian legal system.

Originally published at blog.pocketlawyer.com on February 15, 2017.