Tag Archives: Jolly LLB

Mini-Review: Jolly LLB (2013)


Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

I’m not going to classify this as a full movie review with a star rating since I didn’t finish the movie, for which I have a good reason: after forty minutes, I had no idea what was going on. If you can’t read Hindi, don’t bother watching Jolly LLB.

The story generally concerns a lawyer named Jolly (Arshad Warsi) who wants to make a name for himself in Delhi. However, the movie opens with a dramatic chase scene in which the drunk driver of an SUV follows a sedan full of drunk young people. The car appears to veer successfully around a corner, but the SUV fails to make the turn, smashing into a concrete pillar.

As far as we are shown on screen, no one outside of the SUV is injured in the accident. There’s a line of laundry hanging from the pillar, but we don’t see any dead bodies or other evidence of injury. We learn later that the driver — the son of a famous, wealthy family — was uninjured in the crash when he is found not guilty of causing the accident.

All that is depicted on screen is a one-car accident in which no one was hurt.

Things get confusing when various characters say that this is the most sensational trial in recent memory. A scene shows the driver’s celebrity lawyer (played by Boman Irani) receiving payment from the rich family and admitting to bribery to secure a favorable verdict. Jolly mentions media reports alleging evidence tampering, and he finds an eyewitness who was never called by the prosecution.

None of this hubbub makes any sense, given the footage of the accident presented to the audience. I watched the scene a second time, and, again, there’s nothing to indicate that this is anything more than a non-fatal, one-car accident. Why would that cause such a media sensation?

I suspect the answer lies in the newspaper clippings shown in a montage of Jolly’s search for the truth. They are all written in Hindi and are not subtitled in English, so the clippings are meaningless for audience members (like me) who can’t read Hindi. The headlines may mention anything from multiple deaths to the high cost of repairing the pillar, but non-Hindi readers have no way of understanding what was written.

Then again, the headlines may not add anything to story and everyone may truly be freaking out about a minor traffic accident. I have no way of knowing.

Perhaps the events of the accident are explained in dialog later in the film, but forty minutes seems more than enough of an investment of time when I wasn’t given enough information to follow the plot. (Nor should anyone outside of India be expected to know the details of the 1999 hit-and-run accident that inspired the plot.) Since the majority of the audience for Jolly LLB likely reads Hindi, I don’t blame the filmmakers for presenting information the way they did. However, filmmakers need to consider that presenting critical plot information via written Hindi — and without subtitles — limits the size of their potential audience.

In Theaters March 15, 2013

Update: The new release 3G is currently available on Eros Now not only to subscribers but on a 48-hour rental basis for $1.99. However, due to rights restrictions, the film isn’t available online in India, Pakistan, Burma, Fiji, UAE, Mauritius, Kenya, or South Africa.

Uh-oh. This is the second weekend in a row with no new Hindi movies opening in Chicago area theaters. The absence of Jolly LLB isn’t a surprise, but I expected Y-Films’ Mere Dad Ki Maruti to release here. I’m still hopeful that we’ll get the Bipasha Basu horror flick Aatma next week, but there’s a chance Chicago area Bollywood fans will have to go without until Himmatwala debuts on March 29.

The good news is that Eros Now subscribers can watch 3G on the streaming service starting this Friday, March 15, the same day that it opens in India. That bad news for Neil Nitin Mukesh fans is that the failure of 3G to get a large roll out on the heels of a very small U.S. release of David last month seems to definitively rule him out as a bankable international leading man. I expect we won’t see much of him in The States in the future outside of roles in ensemble pictures like 7 Khoon Maaf.

In the meantime, Kai Po Che! — which has earned $1,013,738 from three weeks in U.S. theaters — carries over for a fourth week at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

The Golf Glen 5 is also holding over The Attacks of 26/11 for a third week, as well as Back Bench Student (Telugu), Paradesi (Tamil), and Romans (Malayalam).