No One Killed Jessica is officially a hit now and has been able to break the January jinx! The film has done well at the box office. Raj Kumar Gupta of the hauntingly beautiful Aamir gives another critically as well as a commercially acclaimed film in No One Killed Jessica. So how did I like it? I liked the film a lot but I must add I was slightly disappointed after watching. I don't think it was the storyline that I was familiar with that we knew what is going to happen next but perhaps what was lacking was the emotional connect with the film that gives a film its high. There is this brilliant film called Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara starring Anupam Kher and Urmila Matondkar and directed by Jhanu Barua that talks about the protagonist who thinks that he killed Gandhi when he was a child using his toy gun. In the end, the film says that how we all have killed Gandhi by forgetting his values, his teachings (this film was before the cult classic Lage Raho Munnabhai, which I must add I didn't find it too convincing, was more of caricature)..
I was hoping the same for No One Killed Jessica. By its title I assumed that since no one killed her, we as a society failed her..the mockery of the judicial system that the case made was a watershed moment in contemporary political India. I thought the film would add certain of these elements that Manu Sharma might have killed her, but our system killed her spirit.
Moreover, the film was too simplistic in its portrayal of events. However, there are some stunning scenes in the film, such as the cop (the best character in the film) saying to Sabrina..har koi khata hai..kis duniya mein rehti ho tum..70 lakh liye the maine uspar haath na uthane ke or that scene where Sabrina is taking Jessica to hospital and says she is gone, or that gut wrenching scene of Jessica's mother crying or another one where Manu Sharma's parents visit the Lalls saying absolutely nothing or another one where Ram Jethmalani asks Malini Ramini what was she wearing that night or Sabrina's spontaneous laughing at Shankar in court.
I didn't like Rani's character too much. It was too caricaturing and it didn't suit her. It was like she is giving gaalis for the sake of it and trying too hard to show herself as a modern independent woman. Moreover, Sabrina is shown more as a defeatist but we know how bravely Sabrina in reality has fought this battle. I found that dialogue by Manu Sharma's mother..kuch bhi kijiye lekin mere Manu ko kuch nahi hona chahiye somewhat offensive. It was as if it is funny, it's not.
There were some hidden reference scenes as well like the one in which Jessica is travelling and on the road it is shown Caution! Men at Work referring to the manipulations of accused to destroy all evidence or another one in which Sabrina accidentally comes in front of an elephant perhaps a metaphor for the war she is fighting with the big elephants of the society. These scenes were few and I wish there were more of such insightful scenes.
But the true star of the film has been the music, the haunting background score of Aamir and the same for No One Killed Jessica shows once again that Amit Trivedi is the next big big biggg thing in Indian music. The songs Dilli Dilli, Aali Re and Aitbaar are just brilliant.
In spite of all the above, I will still say the film is so so much better than those mind numbingly brain dead films that we have been witnessing of late. Worth a watch!!
The next film I am dying to watch is Dhobi Ghaat. Just love its trailer.
P.S. - On Picture This, when Anupama asked Aamir about his reaction when Kiran was narrating him the script, he said that "I just kept looking at her and said to myself that I love her, how can she write so well". That is sweet no?