NO ONE KILLED JESSICA
The beginning of last year saw Vidya Balan make waves in the role of a vengeful, sultry widow in ISHQIYA; the year before that, we saw her perform brilliantly as the unmarried mother of the progeria affected son in PAA and now in 2011, we have her playing the role of Sabrina, the sister of Jessica in NO ONE KILLED JESSICA. And she essays that role with great aplomb and restraint and gets my vote for an outstanding portrayal. It is rather strange that in all these three movies where she has delivered memorable performances, she plays the part of a lady all by herself: I wonder whether she has begun to feel that her movies will come out well only if she plays such roles; otherwise, why would she in this movie repeatedly stress on her no boy-friend status?
Rani Mukherjee comes to the big screen after a hiatus, during which she apparently has shed a lot of weight (although, according to me she does look heavier than the fifty kilogramme weight she claims in one of the dialogues) and gives a thumping performance as a typical no-holds barred media journalist of today’s times. And if the pre-interval of the movie belongs to Vidya, the post-interval is clearly hers. The rest of the cast also delivers excellently; the portrayals of Jessica’s dad as a mute bystander and Jessica herself are noteworthy. Mention must also be made of the portrayal of Manish, the politician’s son who shoots Jessica and the politician whose facial expressions amply convey the anguish of someone who is torn between facing the truth of what his son has done and his filial duties.
But the movie as a whole belongs to director Raj Kumar Gupta, who scored with his very first movie AAMIR. The task of a director becomes extremely difficult when the audience knows the whole story before-hand and this is where Raj Kumar Gupta shines in this movie by creating the tautness so necessary for the audience to retain the interest frame after frame. With a story line like the Jessica murder case, it was easy for the director to have become loudly critical of how powerful politicians can interfere in the investigation and matters of the judiciary or exceedingly sycophantic of the media who succeeded in re-opening of the case and ensure that justice was meted out. Gupta avoids both the traps and conducts the proceedings with a dignity not seen often in our productions.
NO ONE KILLED JESSICA is a tribute to the constructive role our present day media can play and shows that notwithstanding the excesses which the media is sometimes guilty of (as beautifully presented in PEEPLI LIVE), it can still rise to the occasion and deliver when our government and judiciary lets us down and help truth and justice prevail. It is an example of good cinema and a good beginning for 2011! Watch it not for entertainment value, but as an example of how mature our film makers have become!
RATING: 4 out of 5