Jolly LLB, Damini, Pink, Court and more: Bollywood’s 10 best courtroom dramas
Akshay Kumar gears up for the release of Jolly LLB 2—a sequel to the 2012 surprise hit that is arguably Bollywood’s best comic take on courtroom drama.
Jolly LLB 2 is riding high on expectations -- thanks to the love and appreciation that Arshad Warsi’s original received -- and fans have pinned hopes on the Akshay-Huma Qureshi-starrer, slated to hit theatres on Friday, February 10.
We take a look at some of the most iconic courtroom drama that Bollywood has churned out so far.
1. Court (2014)
Chaitanya Tamhane’s National Award-winning film Court may not be your usual Bollywood flick, but it certainly is one of the best Indian films in the genre. Inspired by a case against activist-ballad singer Jeetan Marandi (of Jharkhand) for his alleged links with Left wing extremists, Court is about an abetment to suicide case against Lok Shahir Narayan Kamble (Veera Sathidar) in a lower court in Mumbai.
2. Shahid (2013)
Rajkumar Rao and Hansal Mehta made a strong mark with their National-Award winning film that traced the real life story of Shahid Azmi, who was arrested on allegations of conspiring against the state in 1994. While serving his term in jail, Shahid studied law, and later, after coming out of jail, he went on to defend people accused of terrorism and got 17 acquittals for his clients—quite an achievement in our criminal justice system. The courtroom scenes in the film are so authentic and close to reality that they give you goosebumps.
3. Damini (1993)
The ‘tareekh pe tareekh’ scene in Damini is THE most iconic courtroom scene from Bollywood.
Rajkumar Santoshi’s film gave Sunny Deol one of the most memorable lines. While everything from Meenakshi Sheshadri’s electric performance, Amrish Puri’s antics as the wicked defence lawyer and Rishi Kapoor’s passionate lover was memorable, Sunny’s arguments on ‘court dates’ eventually turned it into an epic scene that is often recreated.
4. Pink (2016)
Amitabh Bachchan played a lawyer in this Taapsee Pannu starrer Pink that impressed critics and fans alike. Anniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s film is about pretension, ego, the false sense of male superiority and skewed ideas of perfect womanhood. But if there was one moment that really stood out, it was the one where Kirti Kulhari admits to something the group of girls did not do—something that is considered a taboo in our society. Amitabh Bachchan’s disconnected but authentic arguments made Pink one of the notable films in 2016.
5. Jolly LLB (2012)
The Arshad Warsi-starrer sleeper-hit traces the drama in lower courts. Warsi, as an underdog lawyer, takes on a rich brat who had run over pavement dwellers after driving under the influence of alcohol.
6. Shaurya (2008)
A remake of the Hollywood classic A Few Good Men, Samar Khan’s Shaurya is another not-so-Bollywood film that deserves to be on this list for its sheer honesty and powerful performances. Kay Kay Menon perhaps found one of his best monologues in the movie’s climax where he starts a narcissist lecture and ends with ‘Bloody democracy! Bloody democracy!’
7. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986)
Directed by Basu Chatterjee, the film was a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men. It tracks the journey of 12 jurors deciding a murder case. While 11 of the 12 jurors are convinced that the accused is guilty, one of them isn’t and starts questioning the facts of the case. The entire movie is set in one small room. The melodrama keeps the audience on the edge with the facts that keep oscillating the jurors judgment from guilty to innocent and back. With veteran actors Pankaj Kapur and Annu Kapoor, the film is a must watch.
8. Meri Jung(1995)
In Subhash Ghai’s 1995 flick, Anil Kapoor plays an iconic lawyer who fights the most famous and corrupt lawyer of his city. From the court proceedings to the witnesses, Meri Jung is one epic court drama.
9. OMG - Oh My God!
When Akshay Kumar donned the role of Krishna, the god, little did we know that it would turn out to be a case where a man fights gods in court and sues them under the section, Act of God. The intriguing tale that took digs at blind faith and self-appointed godmen, changed the way we think about religion—much before Aamir Khan did with his hit PK.
10. Aitraaz (2004)
Akshay-Kareena-Priyanka-starrer Aitraaz’s courtroom sequence was one of the most uplifting ones in Bollywood. Kareena, the wife, fights for her husband who accuses his boss (Priyanka) of sexual harassment.
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