No One Killed Jessica – Review

The film plot is based on a well-known real life murder case of an aspiring model Jessica Lall for the simple reason that she refused drinks to Manu Sharma (accused) at a party. What followed was an endless battle of Jessica’s sister, Sabrina to get justice for her sister and put Manu Sharma behind bars.

She fought it all, our judiciary, our powerful bureaucracy, our hungry-for-money police, and moreover, the dishonest and party changing witnesses.

The movie starts with the murder as it happened. The case is very well-known and debated upon. But still it has been shown in the movie with the same hype and drama that must have ensued when the murder actually occurred. The gun-shot which was apparently intended to be fired 2 inches away from Jessica’s ears still created the same shocking effect and left the audience thrilled and open-mouthed.

As lively as Myra Karn is as Jessica, Vidya Balan has sustained her character throughout the film as a serious and determined sister. There is a continuous remembrance of Jessica in the film with constant memories flashing throughout. This is what keeps Sabrina on track of her battle.

However, even though there’s a dedicated Sabrina and a tough, straight-talking, cuss-words reporter Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherji), there is feeling as if something is missing. A constant nagging at the back of your mind that will leave you feeling a little confused and incomplete after the film. You will wonder on and on trying to figure out that missing connection in the story, but in vain.
This is if we go deep down into the story. On a larger scenario, however, the film has small instances that are worth remembering. It is heartening to see a police man, Rajesh Sharma, helping out to solve a case honestly by quietly giving the main and the most important evidence to Meera, which later proved to be the turning point of the case. But the same police man taking a bribe of Rs. 70 lacs not beat the man accused. Quite a different angle of bribe there! Sabrina’s lawyer jokingly asking Shankar (one of the suspects) to come down from the terrace when every witness has turned hostile and Sabrina erupting into a sudden loud laughter, the shrewd defence lawyer who’ll do anything to win this case; the money-hungry witness who didn’t even hesitate once to sell himself to the highest and most promising bidder, ‘Maa Kasam’!, the father of the accused who is a politician, whose anger against his son is propelled by his lust for power, but still makes every effort to save him from being punished and the pressure from the mother’s side love which constantly reminds him that “Mere Manu ko kuch nahi hona chahiye”! What’s more is that the family visits Vaishno Devi after the trial is over and Manu declared clean… Apparently to wash away their sins and purify themselves!

It makes Vidya Balan a stand-out actor – her representation of a common man by travelling across the city in bus, her hesitant body language, her faith, her helplessness, rage, strength, determination, sorrow and her gratitude all come across beautifully; you don’t even notice her pared down dialogues – all the more commend-worthy. However, the end of the movie comes at the least expected moment. You are left wondering, ‘Is the movie over?’ The case could and should have been followed a little further.

But one part that deserves special credit is the Music. Composer Amit Trivedi has done a superb and commendable job. Hard-hitting lyrics, impactful music and strong play back voices leave you surrounded with a feeling of strength and attitude. It greatly compliments the situations and the characters. Especially the song “Aitbaar” is powerful enough to make you realise the helpless and hopeless state of our system. This is an album that’s clearly worth buying.

All in all, the film makes one feel angry, sad, a bit helpless, frustrated, and bitter about the numerous flaws in our administrative and legal system. However, there is optimism, hope and a sense of self-confidence. Through the candle march, it puts forward the ability that the common people possess if they mobilize and raise their voice for what they believe is right. No One Killed Jessica reaffirms the power and the capability of the ordinary man who can — and must — make the difference in a hopelessly reliable world. Unlike super hero sagas, where the ultimate winner is the one who is popular and powerful, the film not just empowers women through the character of two feisty women — Sabrina and Meera, it also throws light on the fact that how the whole nation came together and joined the “Justice for Jessica” crusade. This only strengthens the belief and displays how power actually resides with and in the people rather than politicians and their puppets. That’s the heartening message the film throws out loud and clear, more importantly at a time when the state of the scam-tainted nation is well-known to the world now.

Aishani Gupta

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