‘Jolly LLB 2’ loud on theatrics, short on storyline

Akshay Kumar and Huma Qureshi in a scene from “Jolly LLB 2”.

Subhash Kapoor’s “Jolly LLB” from 2013 was a middling film saved by the comic timing of leading man Arshad Warsi and Saurabh Shukla, who played the amiable but eccentric judge. In “Jolly LLB 2”, Kapoor makes some cosmetic changes to the script and replaces his leading man, but thankfully keeps Shukla.

Warsi makes way for Akshay Kumar and Delhi replaces Lucknow as the setting, but the rest of story is rather predictable. For a film that is about the law, Kapoor plays surprisingly little attention to details of the legal process. Perhaps, he deliberately chose to do away with them in favor of introducing unnecessary drama to the plot.

Kumar plays Jolly, a bumbling lawyer and a lowly assistant to one of the city’s top legal eagles. His lack of scruples and his ambition to rise to the top results in the suicide of Hina (Sayani Gupta), a young, pregnant woman who is seeking justice for the custodial death of her husband. Wracked by guilt, Jolly turns over a new leaf and dedicates himself to prosecuting the corrupt police officer responsible for the murder.

Akshay Kumar in a scene from “Jolly LLB 2”.

In his quest for justice, Jolly goes to extreme lengths – rescuing a key witness from prison in Jammu and Kashmir, making deals with a police officer and even risking being disbarred. So loud are the theatrics in the film, and so absent is any semblance of a coherent storyline that we actually have the opposition lawyer sitting on a dharna (strike) when he doesn’t agree with the judge, and people walking in and out of the witness box without so much as a notice.

Even if you discount the factual inconsistencies, Kapoor’s tale doesn’t have much meat as an emotional film or a compelling courtroom drama given the needless detours the screenplay takes. Kumar’s deadpan humor and Shukla’s wonderful turn as the droll judge whose bumbling demeanor hides a tough interior provide some bright sparks, but the rest of the film doesn’t live up to these standards.

Annu Kapoor hams it up as a lawyer who hands out rate cards and charges clients even for the tea they drink in his office. Huma Qureshi, who plays Jolly’s wife, is in the film only to clap when her husband delivers his sermons in court.

The verdict, in this case, isn’t in Jolly’s favor.