Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
No One Killed Jessica: Flawed but has its moments
Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” is based on the very gripping saga of the Jessica Lall murder case, one that captured the collective conscience of India at a point in time, and galvanised a dormant middle-class into taking action.
A young model shot dead because she refused to serve a powerful politician’s son a drink at a party. The murderer gets away because of his connections, but when an aggressive reporter takes it upon herself to solve the case, things change.
Vidya Balan plays Sabrina, Jessica’s sister, who learns soon enough that fighting against a corrupt system is of no use, even though more than 300 people witnessed her sister’s murder.
Star reporter Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherjee), who initially doesn’t think the case is worth her time, takes it upon herself to crack the case, when a lower court acquits all accused in the case. Her investigative reporting shakes the system forcing public protests and re-opening of the case.
Gupta’s source of inspiration is spot-on and perfect celluloid fodder. However, the director doesn’t utilise his raw material well enough for you to be completely gripped by this tale. Rather than packing in the second half with action and some sort of drama, he chooses to dwell on the emotional quotient — something he has already established, thus making it repetitive.
The actual events which led to the reopening of the case are glossed over and there is much expostulating on the equations of the powerful in Delhi. Also, Rani Mukherjee’s character is not given enough time and you don’t really get a sense of her.
Sabrina, on the other hand, is quite well-developed and Vidya Balan does the character justice, bringing out the frustration and grief that Jessica Lall’s family must have gone through.
“No One Killed Jessica” is a film that does have its moments, but on the whole it doesn’t quite make the impact it should have. The length could have been cut by 20 minutes and some of the supporting cast doesn’t perform up to the mark.
If you are willing to forgive these flaws, this is good enough for a one-time watch — to relive the horrific incident and its aftermath, if nothing else.