It is easy to find humour in dingy courtrooms of the country, says journalist-turned-director Subhash Kapoor, whose upcoming project Jolly L.L.B. takes a satirical look at the realities of Indian judiciary.
As a political journalist in the late 1990s, Kapoor visited courtrooms galore chasing stories. "For years, Hindi films have been showing a different version of a courtroom, all with Gita pe haath rakh ke kasam... I have never seen a Gita. A courtroom is small and dingy, has a lot of people, most often an overworked judge and several other disinterested people," Kapoor told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
It is this reality of the courtroom that attracted Kapoor to pen a movie and direct it. "I have to admit that I found it extremely entertaining and fascinating, and so I decided to weave a satire around it. The situation in a courtroom sometimes is humorous. Judges taking blood pressure pills, people running here and there... there is a whole variety of characters in which you can find dark humour."
"My ability to find humour in dark situations is thanks to my training as a journalist. A journalist is trained to look at common things with a difference, in search of a scoop everywhere, in every routine thing," said Kapoor, whose last directorial, the 2010 Phas Gaye Re Obama, was a satire on the drastic effect of the recession that almost paralysed the global economy.
For Jolly L.L.B., which features comic actors Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani, Kapoor chose to do a thorough recce of courts.
"We visited a lot of courtrooms in Mumbai and Delhi. In Delhi, we spent time in Tis Hazari and Patiala House and took cues from the properties. Then, we shot the film largely in Maharashtra," said the director, who roped in Suman Roy Mahapatra to work on the production design.
Almost 40 to 50 percent of the film has courtroom scenes, says Kapoor, who admits he has managed to wrap the project in an under Rs 10 crore budget.
The film releases on March 15.