Sky high expectation. Powerhouse actresses. The verdict is now out.
This is a movie that was immensely awaited, both by the cine-lovers as well as the film-analysts/critics. So, the question here is whether NOKJ lives up to the hype? The answer is a big YES and a small NO.
The connect: The movie opens with a bar scene of a party where the rowdy youngster demands more booze. The girl refuses and gets herself shot point blank. Rest, as they say, is history. Yes, everything is history and it’s a story that has, in all probability, been played on the Indian television more than any other scam, murder, conspiracy….So, if we know everything, why are we watching the movie? The answer lies is the way the story is presented. You can’t help but root for justice for the poor girl who is denied justice after being shot by a guy who is drunk on his father’s political power and clout. When one witness after another lies through their teeth, you just can’t stop the spread of doom over you. When the last witness testifies, you can’t help but hope against hope that at least he doesn’t lie. So, in simple words, the movie does connect and it makes you care – something that is hard to say about most movies nowadays.
Tale of the two ladies: Rani and Vidya carry the movie on their frail shoulders, and they do it pretty well. So, while the firebrand Rani spits and shrieks and frets and fumes, Vidya, with her understated act of the grieving sister makes you care about her. Rani is the competitive journo who has her life revolving around creating headlines and she may as well not have the time for small time models who get shot in late night parties – hardly the headline she’s looking for, but one meeting with Vidya changes her heart. A change, that brings radical transformation in how the media, the public and the judiciary behaved and functioned.
Special Mention: Myra, who is barely shown in the promos, plays Jessica Lal’s role. She is the surprise package of the movie and holds your attention immensely in the flashback scenes where she appears. You care for the girl, so the pain of those who lost her becomes all the more relevant. Looks like Myra was deliberately kept under wraps – to create the surprise element.
All in all, NOKJ does not disappoint. It is brilliant in parts and the characterizations are good. So is the music and screenplay.
While the movie is very engaging, it still leaves something to be desired. You wish to feel that edge that you felt in Rang De Basanti, that immense sense of betrayal and the strange sort of connect. Well, not comparing the two movies, NOKJ just falls short of becoming a masterpiece. The characters, particularly some of the witnesses look superficial and Rani’s extra-energetic act sometimes gets to your nerves.
Music: Amit Trivedi’s music is above average, still not hard hitting. The tracks “Aali Re”, “Dilli” have caught on fast because of the fast music and unconventional lyrics. “Aitbaar” has also become popular, but the album on the whole is just average fare.
Direction: Full marks to Raj Kumar Gupta for attempting something very different than his first film “Aamir” and succeeding so well. He has established his place in the industry as a director to look out for.
VERDICT: A superhit movie which will remain in the hearts and minds of people for several years to come. Rani need not have gone into the publicity overdrive, her crown as the queen of substantial cinema is safe.. though she has some sure competition from Vidya Balan.