Jolly LLB 2 movie cast: Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Saurabh Shukla, Annu Kapoor
Jolly LLB 2 movie director: Subhash Kapoor
Jolly LLB 2 movie rating: 3.5 stars
Jolly LLB 2 is the kind of film Hindi cinema used to make at a time when its primary activity was to tell a rousing tale, using star power to embellish it.
This sequel of Jolly LLB, infinitely superior to the first, brings back the joys of watching a movie with a solid plot, a strong sense of time and place and rhythm, and a confidence in itself that has been missing from Bollywood. Yes, there a few dips, and some slips, but on the whole, this Akshay Kumar-starrer is a win.
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It engaged me right from the first frame. And though you know exactly how it will end, there are enough good performances, and enough heft to keep us with it.
Kanpur-wale Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akshay Kumar), now a Lucknow-nivasi, is lawyer-in-the-making. Which means that Jolly is just the kind of shifty individual who will indulge in just the kind of dodgy activity to help him cross the hump, from a 15th assistant of a snooty senior advocate to a ‘vakil’ in his own right, with his own chamber.
But you also know that this Jolly will see the path of truth sooner vs later, and set out to slap the bad guys into submission. Not with the kind of kicks and slaps that we’ve got used to from Akshay’s actioners, but the sort of colourful verbal sparring that lawyers engage in, dotted with some hilarious throwaway lines which the star generously shares with his terrific co-stars, especially Saurabh Shukla and Annu Kapoor.
The former is an unalloyed delight, even better than he was in the first film. I’d go so far as to say that if Shukla weren’t in it, it would be a lesser film. Kapoor, as the mendacious legal eagle who will go to any extent to further his cause (first his, and then his clients’), is excellent, too.
So are the supporting acts. Huma Qureshi, who pops up once in a while, before the script forgets about her, fits right in as Jolly’s ‘angrezi-swigging-biwi’. Kumud Mishra as the thoroughly bad cop is a nice change of image for this amiable actor.
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And the film putters along nicely on the brawny shoulders (revealed when the star has to endorse his brand of ‘baniyan’, tsk tsk) of its star. Akshay dials down the ready-for-all-comers sharp action hero persona and dons a thick-moochwala fella who wants to get ahead, but has an innately noble streak, enough to save him. We see him doing stuff that superstars do not — a great scene which has Jolly slaving at the gas stove and his wife seated at the dining table, will kick start a conversation around gender role reversal, I predict, because, you know, star and all — and show a weak streak before conquering it.
There are problems, of course. The one time I checked out was in a song which has Akshay and Huma do the boogie-woogie. Why, why? When everything else is going swimmingly along? Throw all superfluous gaana-bajaana out, I say.
Also, though we like that this film is not inherently scared of drama, and it fully embraces its dramatic bits — something else that’s gone missing from today’s Bollywood — it does fling in contrivances which take away from the core strength of the film. Especially towards the end, which gets stretched, and a trifle preachy about Hindu-Muslim ekta and bhaichara.
But I’m happy to ignore those bits because it does go bravely where few films do: send across a message without it feeling grafted on, about religious amity, and probity amongst a profession which has been buried under lies and corruption. The way it’s done, the message gives it meaning minus sanctimony.
Jolly LLB 2 is a cracking watch, despite its few squelchy parts. Aur yeh lock kiya jaaye, mi’lord.