Well, No One Killed Jessica | They all watched | Review

No One Killed Jessica has undoubtedly been an awaited film. The subject is intriguing, the trailer is promising and the song doesn’t leave your head!

Release Date: 7th Jan 2011
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Vidya Balan, Rani Mukerji
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala (UTV Motion Pictures)

During the period of 1999 – 2006, every time one opened the newspapers in India, s/he came across a snippet carrying news of the Jessica Lall murder case. As time passed by, the articles became confusing and the development convoluted. The result was a general drop in interest rate among citizens. In 2006, the verdict was out and the accused Manu Sharma was let free.

The film, No One Killed Jessica attempts to make a cinematic representation of the events surrounding this hi-profile case and trace the journey of these characters. We can now safely say it succeeds.

In the introductory titles, Rani Mukerji’s voice-over describes the administrative capital of the country, Delhi and importance and abuse of power in the city. One can’t even avail an application to a government office without influence, she states.

As an audience, you witness a model bartender being shot, her sister pursuing the murder case, trials and tribulations that ensue and the final court hearing. And despite knowing what you see to be the truth, you can’t do nothing. Raj Kumar Gupta, director, screenplay and dialogue writer establishes this predicament beautifully. Thousands of informed citizens, 300 witnesses, 7 willing to testify and yet, no one could send Manu Sharma to jail.

Vidya Balan delivers a stellar performance as Jessica Lall’s sister, Sabrina Lall. You choke when she gasps for the first time on hearing of her sister’s injury. While her journey proceeds, your emotions are wrung too. Eventually, you can’t help but well up with tears on watching her break down. It has to be one of the finest roles she has essayed.

Taking the performance a notch higher is the interaction between Vidya Balan and Rani Mukerji. Their scene has to be the one with the most impact. At that point in the film, Meera (Rani Mukerji) delivers a necessary paradigm shift. The audience and Sabrina (a central character) is made to realize that the events so far haven’t been a personal battle, instead, they have been a fight for justice. Following closely is a flashback scene of Jessica that couldn’t have been more aptly timed. Watch out for it.

Rani Mukerji is back with a bang, ladies and gentlemen. She pulls off with gusto an adamant character, a modern day journalist who won’t stop for nothing. She is the show stealer adding the required charm and literally lighting up the screen with her acting chops.

As is already made clear in one of the title slides, the content is influenced by several media reports and articles. A special thanks has been delivered to Tehelka who performed the sting on important witnesses. However, of most importance here is the script that brings together all the available facts and fictionalises what is necessary. The presentation is not that of a docu-drama. It is, instead a cinematic episode that unfolds with passion and vigour. You will appreciate the emphatic presentation of a series of events you were merely acquainted with.

- Dhruvi Shah