The film is far more of a court-room drama, it is a social satire
I think fans of this film’s prequel should be suitably warned. And I’m sure there were quite a few admirers of 'Jolly LLB' — Why else would a sequel get made in the first place. Basically 'Jolly LLB' was a social comment wrapped in a laugh-out-loud comedy -- a fail-safe formula that director Raju Hirani has most wonderfully championed over the past decade. If anything, 'Jolly LLB' took on the legal system in much the same way as Hirani’s debut 'Munnabhai MBBS' had exposed medical malpractices through humour, of course, and ably using 'Circuit' Arshad Warsi as Jolly in the fore.
Both medicine and law, of course, being the most humane professions that appear the most dehumanising at the same time, while doctors and lawyers who are meant to save lives end up treating people and their miseries as just another cold statistic, on a day at work —- the main motive of which is to make money alone.
Akshay Kumar plays Jolly in LLB 2. The film is far more of a court-room drama, packaged as social satire, with comedy that’s subtly situational, rather than classic LOL stand-up stuff. It could appear somnolently slow and repetitive in parts, unnecessarily digressing on occasion, even while remaining relatively realistic and well-meaning throughout. And as you would know about court-room dramas, which is just as true for sports films: most of the movie’s final act is dedicated to an extended duel in an arena; the court-room, in this case, much like a stadium in sports flicks.
Unlike a 'Tees Hazari' type Delhi court in the first part, the sequel is set in a district/sessions court in Lucknow. The case before the audience concerns a fake police encounter. The victim’s pregnant wife (Sayani Gupta; gem of a talent) commits suicide. Akshay’s over-ambitious Jolly, an imposter of sorts, is clearly responsible for this poor woman’s death. Dying of guilt, he takes on the bad cops to clear his conscience.
There is absolutely nothing in this film that you don’t already know about the legal system. Or, haven’t faced it first-hand yourself. Or accessed even better films (Chaitanya Tamhane’s brilliant 'Court', for one), or books (Ranjeev S Dubey’s 'Legal Confidential', in particular) on the same subject. I mean, how seriously should one even take a picture about a public interest litigation (PIL) that is being argued in a lower court, while the Supreme Court is the only place this can ever happen.
Clearly the Bombay High Court took it seriously enough to ask for scenes to be deleted altogether — a move that was as unprecedented as it was unexpected. If anything, one ought to admire the current government in Uttar Pradesh that’s been offering stupendous sops to filmmakers to shoot in the state, while the films are often deeply critical of the state itself.
This one captures UP in all its notorious glory, with goons, and guns. Newbie Jolly is up against the jaded, jugaadu advocate (Annu Kapoor; in his element, as always), who can swing any case in his favour, and steer it just the way you’d like it to. Sitting atop both is the cuddly judge (Saurabh Shukla), absolutely the most endearing aspect of this film; albeit in an obvious sort of way.
What’s become equally obvious of late is the ‘one-man industry’ Akshay Kumar green-lighting movies that are sensible and entertaining at the same time—where with every other movie since 'Special 26' (2013), one is tempted to dub his performance as his finest yet. No doubt, this particular turn as the mustachioed, simpleton Jolly—vulnerable, yet so full of earthy swagger—qualifies as his best. Yet again!