Apparently the movie was fantastic and both Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan were fabulous!
Taran Adarsh's review below:
By Taran Adarsh, January 5, 2011 - 08:36 IST
Most storytellers entertain, a few enlighten. A scattering number of
celluloid visionaries entertain as well as enlighten. Rajkumar Gupta
fits into that exceptional variety of film-makers that opens up
thought-processes about the condition of the homeland without losing the
cinematic elements that constitute a film.
To reconstruct on celluloid a true occurrence that is oven fresh in
public reminiscence is not a trouble-free mission, but Gupta takes up
this colossal challenge of placing together the controversial and
litigious story of Jessica Lall's murder case on celluloid. However,
having sensitive and explosive material on hand is not enough. The
execution of the subject is of paramount importance. Fortunately, the
one-film-old director interprets the events of the murder case in
remarkable style and form and makes it a cinematic experience that
haunts you even after the film has concluded. Gupta does complete
justice to the spirit of the story, which had created headlines and
still remains well etched in our memory to this day.
A few monsoons ago, Rajkumar Santoshi's HALLA BOL commenced with a
shootout sequence at a party. Of course, HALLA BOL wasn't about this
incident alone, it was just a tiny segment in the narrative. NO ONE
KILLED JESSICA focuses on this true-life incident [with no deviations]
and its strength lies in the fact that it sucks you into the world of
dirty politics and power games as soon as it unfolds.
NO ONE KILLED JESSICA is not Gupta's first and foremost endeavor at
illustrating a real incident that shook the nation. Even in his
directorial debut AAMIR, Gupta depicted a common man's [Rajeev
Khandelwal] hard try at combating terrorism and violence. However, that
was a work of fiction. But NO ONE KILLED JESSICA is a different ballgame
altogether because reams of paper and hours of television footage have
been devoted to this case. Thankfully, Gupta makes it an engaging
thriller rather than relying on the docu-drama format.
NO ONE KILLED JESSICA belongs to the unique hard-hitting, gut-wrenching
genre of cinema. Script-wise, the director has tried to remain faithful
to the episode that occurred during that fateful night and also what
transpired subsequently, but besides depicting reality on celluloid, he
adds the thrill element to the plotline, which makes it very
viewer-friendly. The events have been chronologically put forth and the
daring story of two women who challenged the system hits you like a ton
of bricks. The film truly celebrates the human spirit and also reflects a
vital change in the society and in the attitudes of people.
Final word? This gutsy film deserves a standing ovation!
New Delhi, 1999. The guns at Kargil are still blazing when another one
goes off, this time in the nation's capital. Jessica [Myra], a young
attractive model, trying her hand at bartending, is shot dead at a
celebrity party. Her crime - refusing to serve a drink after closing
hours. The culprit Manish [Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub], son of a prominent
politician, inebriated by a deadly cocktail of alcohol and a sense of
entitlement, pulls the trigger in a fit of rage.
With 300 of Delhi's swish set present at the party, many of whom are
witnesses to the murder, Manish looks all set to go to the gallows.
Except that it doesn't quite turn out that way. But two women, Jessica's
sister Sabrina [Vidya Balan] and the feisty TV reporter Meera [Rani
Mukerji], decide to outwit Manish and his politician-father [Shireesh
Sharma] at their game. Over the course of seven years, the case goes
through several stages of legal complications. Witnesses turn hostile
one after another and the few who don't, became inconsistent with their
Manish is acquitted, leading to a fierce public uproar and a relentless
campaign by the media, which eventually leads to a life sentence for
A film like NO ONE KILLED JESSICA pricks your conscience and makes you
think. In fact, it's the kind of film that will lead to debates and
discussions. What was more appalling - the model's slaying or the
slapdash method in which the suspected assassins were brought to
justice? What's even more scandalous is that almost immediately after
the killing, the police identified the slaughterer and it seemed like an
open-and-shut case. But it wasn't.
Gupta deserves kudos for choosing a thorny and contentious story to
interpret on celluloid, but he deserves a few extra brownie points for
handling the material with aplomb. His prowess and competence is visible
all through the film, but more specifically in the electrifying
courtroom sequences and also when Rani decides to take up this issue.
The candle light protest at India Gate in particular is simply
Since it is based on a real story that occurred in Delhi, Gupta has shot
the entire film in the city. The characters are real and so are the
locations and that's what makes the goings-on very identifiable, besides
bestowing an authentic feel to the film. Like his earlier film AAMIR,
NO ONE KILLED JESSICA has been shot in guerrilla style and that makes
the viewer feel that he's actually watching the drama unfold in front of
his eyes, that he's a spectator in the proceedings. Gupta also ensures
that the two pivotal parts remain true to their respective characters.
Any shortcoming? Yes, if Gupta would've trimmed the film by at least 10 minutes, the impact would've been much stronger.
A hard-hitting drama, generally, doesn't have scope for music. But Amit
Trivedi joins hands with Amitabh Bhattacharya, the wordsmith with whom
he delivered the fabulous soundtrack of DEV D, and together they deliver
a solid soundtrack. 'Dilli Dilli' has already won hearts of audiences
and the remaining songs too leave an impact. Anay Goswami's
cinematography is first-rate. Dialogue, also penned by Gupta, are
realistic to the core.
Gupta may be young and relatively new to the fray, but that does not
deter him from getting the best and most appropriate cast for his second
outing and I am sure, it's only thanks to a potent and persuasive
script. Vidya has been basking in the glory of films like PAA and
ISHQIYA lately, which gave her ample opportunity to prove her dexterity.
She gets a wonderful opportunity to prove her prowess yet again. Vidya
plays the iconic Sabrina Lall brilliantly, reliving some very stressful
and arduous chapters of Sabrina's life. Balan is poignant yet controlled
and projects an imposing figure of maturity, refinement and veracity.
This film completes a hat-trick of her commendable performances.
In the role of a spirited and audacious journo, Rani, who smokes
non-stop, flings swear words every now and then and who rebuffs being a
voiceless spectator when the culprits go scot-free, is simply
exceptional. She sinks her teeth into the character, giving it the much
required pragmatism that it necessitates. Her performance is bound to be
talked-about in days to come. In fact, it would be unfair if I do not
acknowledge the fact that she appears very much at ease mouthing abusive
words and lurid language.
Neil Bhoopalam, the key witness, is fantastic. Especially in the
sequence when he comes for an audition of a film role and blurts out the
truth unsuspectingly. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, the main accused, is very
good. Myra, as Jessica, is natural. Rajesh Sharma, the investigating
police officer, is excellent. Satyadeep Misra, as Rani's boss, gives a
fine account of himself. Shireesh Sharma, the politician-father, is
On the whole, NO ONE KILLED JESSICA is a poignant story of two women's
resolve for justice. It's a remarkable blend of facts and fiction
inspired by a series of real-life episodes, which has thankfully not
been presented as a tedious biography or in a mind-numbing docu-drama
format. It's more of an engaging thriller which has the right doses of
histrionics, tautness, anguish and thrills. The emotional and disturbing
journey, the strength of the common man and the relentless endeavor of
the media have all been most compellingly put together on moving
picture. In times of yore, a lot of films have been attempted on
real-life incidents, but haven't struck a chord so effectively. NO ONE
KILLED JESSICA should shatter this jinx. This heroic and daring film
truly deserves a prolonged applause.