© MovieTalkies This pink doesnt Really Glitter Courtroom dramas are an intriguing genre. The tense silence of a courtroom really magnifies the suspense for an audience watching it on the big screen. And as a battle of wits ensues, the audience gets sucked into the case. Think Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, and as the final confrontation nears the end and the way he says the definitive dialogue of the film, “You can’t handle the truth.” That’s what the audience loves about films set within the claustrophobic spaces of a courtroom.
Right from the times of Sunil Dutt, who acted in more than a few films set in the courtroom like Waqt and Mera Saaya, to Amitabh Bachchan’s Pink which tackles the thin line between a sexual assault and a false accusation of rape. Let’s take a look of 5 of Bollywood’s best from contemporary courtroom dramas:
1. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986)
A remake of Sidney Lumet’s all-time American classic 12 Angry Men by Basu Chatterjee, it tracks the journey of 12 jurors deciding the fate of a man accused of having committed a murder. While 11 of the 12 jurors are convinced the man is guilty, one isn’t convinced and he starts questioning the facts of the case. The entire movie takes place in that small room with summer at its peak, and the film sucks you into the drama where one fact after another starts rolling out to change the juror’s minds from guilty to not guilty. It decodes the ugliness of a human mind and also its beauty. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla is a faithful remake and with actors like Pankaj Kapur, Annu Kapoor the film is a must watch.
Rajkumar Santoshi’s sophomore effort benefits from his razor-sharp writing as it gives Sunny Deol some of his most memorable lines in a career spanning more than three decades. ‘Tariq pe tariq’ entered Bollywood pop-culture as a result of this movie which features an electric performance Meenakshi Sheshadri, the dibolical defense lawyer Amrish Puri with a curious haircut. However, it really has Sunny Deol walking away with the film.
Another remake of Hollywood classic A Few Good Men, Samar Khan’s Shaurya has the distinction of a performance quite possibly better than the original. And we’re talking about Kay Kay Menon, who is frothing at the mouth spouting ‘Bloody democracy! Bloody democracy!’ as against Jack Nicholson’s ‘You can’t handle the truth.’ Even though the remake doesn’t have the impact of the original, since it doesn’t have Aaron Sorkin’s words. However, Kay Kay Menon makes watching the movie worthwhile.
4. No One Killed Jessica
Based on the widely publicised case of the Jessica Lal murder case, a bar-tender who got shot down by a politician’s son after being refused a drink. The film has some of its best moments in the courtroom, where Vidya Balan’s Sabrina Lal breaks into unexpected laughter, after a lawyer catches one of the witnesses turning hostile.
5. Jolly LLB
Subhash Kapoor’s sleeper-hit starring Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani captures the small town courts perfectly, as it follows the story of an underdog lawyer (Warsi), as he takes on the rich brat who ran over a few pavement dwellers after driving under the influence of alcohol. The hot-shot defense lawyer Boman Irani serves as the perfect opponent who offers beautifully-worded arguments and the battle of wits is something to watch out for.
*Honorary mention: Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court which made front-page headlines after its premiere at the MAMI festival 2016, and then swept awards at almost all famous festivals around the world including Toronto, Venice including the coveted National Award in India. The film takes a look at the fractured procedure of Indian judiciary, and has an intense take as a well-read lawyer defends an activist accused of abetting suicide and propagating anti-national sentiments.