I think it’s fair to judge a film by how much of an impact it leaves with you right after you’ve seen it. If you’re still left thinking about it in one way or another, then it’s safe to say that it’s on your mind for all the right reasons. No One Killed Jessica is thought-provoking to say the least. It’s made me want to light a candle for the injustice that Jessica Lal was served, it’s made me want to fight for what’s right and it’s made me feel pity (and anger) for all of those that appear not to have a conscience. Most of all, it’s forced me (and will probably force everyone who watches it) to stare corruption right in the face.
It’s common knowledge that the film is based on a very tragic yet poignant true story. Although I haven’t followed the real-life events as they unfolded, this movie intrigued me right from the first trailer. The movie focuses on the killing of Jessica and the cover-ups, corruption and injustice that follow in trying to determine why and how. It is a story about a family yearning for the killer to be brought to justice. With Rani Mukerji making yet another comeback after Dil Bole Hadippa and Vidya Balan in another get-your-teeth-into role after Paa, this was indeed going to be a film all about the power of the female. What drew me in further was the gutsy portrayal by Rani and the sombre look of Vidya… combined, all of this was sure to make excellent viewing, right?
The opening credits featured Rani’s distinct voice giving a commentary of the daily comings and goings of Delhi, and the dialogues were made up of some real gems. It was, indeed, a very “real” start to a potentially cult-style movie. Vidya’s character, Sabrina, Jessica’s sister, comes in straight after those credits come to an end. The first scene where Sabrina purposefully misses and then is forced to take the life-changing phonecall is extremely definitive. It was very much Vidya’s screeching of “What?” which got my heart beating and had me gripped until the end.
Although many reviews seem to have been giving raves to Rani Mukerji’s rendition of Meera, the news journalist that takes no victims, I truly feel that it is Vidya who truly shines. Playing the grieving sister who wanted nothing but justice for her beloved sibling who was killed unlawfully, Vidya, in my view, completely outdoes her previous performances. In a somewhat grim tale of crime and corruption, she is the hidden diamond and she is the one which moves you to the point of wanting to go out and light a candle yourself for in support. She is the one who makes you feel the emotion, the sadness and the importance of such a story… and be grateful that India is no longer ashamed of it’s shortcomings.
Aamir (2008) is not a film I have seen but with this, his second directorial venture, Rajkumar Gupta is someone I truly bow down to. No One Killed Jessica is raw, hard-hitting and well-executed. The movie doesn’t dwell on the horrible truths more than it needs to and neither does it dumb-down the mistakes that were made in the case. I firmly believe it is RajKumar Gupta’s vision which helps achieve this more than perfect balance and he should be recognised as a talent to be proud of.
It would be wrong to go on without giving the new talent in the movie a mention. The villainous roles are played by some fresh faces and this is, I believe, a strong point for the film. New actors instantly give a certain kind of feel to such movies and in this instance, it is essential to the viewer’s dislike of them.
To conclude, I would like to say how much pride there is in my heart that Bollywood is making this kind of cinema. Not only is the movie completely dependent on two females to hold it on their shoulders (and they do it so well), but it is also telling a true story without hiding behind the fluffiness that the industry is known so well for. There is no love story, there are no romantic songs and neither are there any extravagantly colourful dance sequences. This is genuine cinema at its best and nobody can deny that it is inevitably the life-long story of good winning against evil. What makes this depiction so different is that it stays true to its characters and relies on facts, real-life accounts and harsh journalism to see it through. The film raises questions about the power of the media in India and the power of politicians. In fact, one line from the start of the movie sums it up to a tee, “Everybody is a somebody here… nobody is a nobody”. One can only hope that such cinema and such stories are not lost… India, it seems, has many accounts of a similar variety and I hope that some are encouraged to see the light of day.
My rating: 3.5/5