No one killed Jessica

wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

Not every case might be a 'Jessica Lal' murder case, which can be repealed by the gusto of the 'aam junta' and one determined news lady. Not everything might come to culmination as easily as is shown in the second half of No One Killed Jessica. But the film gives us, what we need most - the strength to fight our fights and the hope that we will get what we deserved all along - justice.

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Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Crime, Thriller
More Movie Info

No one killed Jessica - Preview

The turning over off the verdict of the Jessica Lal Muder case to give a life-time imprisonment sentence to a well-connected accused, is a precedent of the power of media, should they decide to use it. Dramatizing it with a strong cast and making it into a Hindi film is the need of the hour, if not anything else. The number of scams that 2010 saw makes a film showcasing the power of the audience, a necessary welcome to 2011.

The trailer makes you look forward to a crisp and strong film.

I'm hoping it's not just a cursory glance at the case, the low court acquittal, the uproar, the supreme court sentence but is a deeper read into who said what, etc. The media/citizen uproar and the sting operation are specific parts that I'm hoping will inspire us one and all.

With music composed by Amit Trivedi and the 'right' snippets in the trailer the initial audience is likely to hit theaters. And this despite the fact that the story is known to anyone who is interested. I'm also hoping the film will also reach out to the people who aren't aware of the details.

The question now is - are the parts that didn't make it to the trailer good enough for us to recommend it to family and friends.

Music reviews:
Listen to the songs Here. Awesome, I say!

milliblog has given it a 200 word review instead of their regular 100-worder. That says it all!

music aloud - "9/10"

Bollyspice - "Ultimately, an album certainly worth checking out! Or 3.5/5"

Bollywood Hungama - "This has to be one of the most prestigious outings for Amit Trivedi as he brings in certain maturity in the way he deals with the soundtrack here. Or 3/5"
Hindustan Times - "fails to contain a cohesive sound and is rather mediocre."

- meeta, a part of the audience

Whatever you can expect from a film with - an attention grabbing promo; based on a newspaper story that is close to home for one and all of us; directed by the person who made a strong statement with his debut, Aamir; AND aspires to be a commercial success - is delivered. It's entertaining, it makes its point and it reaches out to us. Then, even if the film simplifies the struggle that the common man has to go through to get his basic right, it feels like it is only so that we keep our hopes strong in this age of a scam a day.

Of course, the state of affairs we live in is disturbing beyond measure. So much so that, we applaud something that should be taken for granted - honest bureaucrats, police, and politicians. As the 'aitbaar' song in the film goes - trust is melting away.

Thankfully, there are cases like these to restore that faith to however small an extent. And thankfully, there are people in the film industry who can and are willing to make such films to serve as reminders.

They also have selected a brilliant team, which brings to screen situations the way that we might have visualized them when we read the newspapers. And more. The story has a good measure of details that are not necessarily known to people who haven't keenly followed the case. The narrative is also kept interesting with the non-linear references to Sabrina's relationship with her sister.

The performances only add to what already is an interesting setup. You love the bitch in Mira (Rani Mukherjee) and the cow in Sabrina (Vidya Balan). You get into their story more because of the bit roles played by a reasonably well-staffed supporting cast.

The earnest but dumb, junior journalist Aditi (Maanvi Gagroo) is funny because of the situation she is put in. I loved the way Aditi's side-story subtly shows how Mira makes up to her. The submissive, clueless, simple middle class man, Sanjit Lal (Yogendra Tikku) makes you feel the frustration his daughter Sabrina might have gone through.

The powerful politician's side-kick is only too proud to "take care" of the witnesses and evidence. And the most impressive was the actor who played inspector (name, anyone?). His role in the case is such a huge finger pointed at the country's administration.

I could've have done with a little less dramatization, for example entry of the key witness into the courtroom. But, I'd much rather see a commercial success for films like these than cater to my preferences.

Isn't it commendable, that a film about such a serious issue leaves you in good humor, without taking away anything from the message. A lot of it has to do with the witty dialogue and amusing (or made amusing) situations. Another huge chunk of credit goes to Amit Trivedi (oh, how I have restrained myself from saying 'the one and only'!) His music in combination with Amitabh Bhattacharya's lyrics tell you a lot more than the basic story itself.

Sure, I would have liked the setup in the first half to have led up to something a little less anti-climactic. Sure, the pace could have been a little better in the first half, which might have made the second half look better. Yet, these seem like mere nitty-gritty when you notice the emotional high that the film has left you with. And especially when you compare it to the huge reminder it is. Of our strength, if only we choose to use it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

58 reviewers(?) - 40 yays 14 so-so 4 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Nishtha Bhatnagar, Alpha : ...I am sure director Rajkumar Gupta was put up against as a mammoth challenge where he had to inform, educate and entertain all at the same time. And he manages to perform all the three roles with elan and precision.... full review

Thumbs up, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...Kudos to director Rajkumar Gupta - delivering another ace after his debut film Aamir - for making a brave film that keeps you hooked for the most part, dipping only slightly in the second half when it stretches on needlessly... full review

Thumbs up, Best Of Bollywood : ...UTV, the producers, do smart work and skillfully embed a scene from Rang De Basanti where the characters are shown taking candle-lights to stir a movement. This of course, is true, because this scene was a catalyst in garnering public support for the Jessica Lal case.... full review

Thumbs up, : ...Director Rajkumar Gupta (of ‘Aamir’ fame) offers a gripping cinematic experience again, that too without a dominant male character. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...A smart, sophisticated film about an imperfect heroine is dominated by its near-perfect heroines. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Steven Baker, Bolly Spice : ...After a string of over-hyped and over-budget offerings from Bombay cinema in the final quarter of 2010, No One Killed Jessica is a welcome antidote, and it will be interesting to see what awaits this powerful film at the box office. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...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. ... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Mantra : ...The first half is just ok but the second half is more captivating. The dialogues are very convincing and touchy. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Payal Khanna, Desi Martini : ...A definite watch for all... full review

Thumbs up, by Harjeet Singh Rakhra, Desi Martini : ...f Vidya has given strong performance as a seductress in Ishqiya, playing a subdued and unglamorous Sabrina would have been a cake walk for this talented actress.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ameetbhuvan, Desi Martini : ...Vidya Balan, as Sabrina Lal, sizzles in an understated deglam role. She brings a sense of grit and determination to the role, and makes one empathize with the anguishh and will to fight the system come what may. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Yusuf Poonawala, Desi Martini : ...The music of the film by Amit Trivedi, comes across as jarring, especially pre-interval. Besides the 2 famous songs, Dilli, Aali Re, the songs in the film, even though in the background, come across as a hindrance.... full review

Thumbs up, Dunkdaft : ...My only complaint to Rajkumar Gupta is - why the name of culprit is changed in the movie? Manu Sharama deserves to be hated by each who watches this movie. Or you thought Jessica and Sabrina's names should be retained to get more eyeballs ?... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Venkatraghavan, Filmfare : ...The film itself is self-assuredly placid in places and riveting in others. Yet at times you wish there was just that little something extra that would make you want to jump through hoops. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Sabnani, : ...The innovative title sequence involving newspaper headlines, along with Delhi's introduction sets the tempo right.... full review

Thumbs up, by Khushbu, : ...grips you from the word go... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...The narrative is gripping, the music score (Amit Trivedi) uplifting, the screenplay tight enough to allow for very few slippages (only towards the end).... full review

Thumbs up, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...Rani is a revelation as the star anchor with a heart of gold and the mouth of a sewer rat.... full review

Thumbs up, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...Dialogues (by Raj Kumar Gupta) go with the mood of the film and are appealing.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...the film does seem one-sided. Would've been interesting to see a perspective from the other side. Whether it is Vikram's (the model based on Shayan Munshi) side or even one of the other witnesses. ... full review

Thumbs up, Mixed Bag : ...I have an intense desire to say that the performance delivered by Rani Mukerji was her best so far, but i would be exaggerating if i make this comment. The same goes for Vidya Balan and the remaining cast of NOKJ... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...Gupta has managed to stick to facts and yet add the right amount of fictional elements to make a film which is engrossing and extremely engaging as the main protagonists go through a sea of emotions in their journey towards justice and truth.... full review

Thumbs up, by Raj Narayan, MSN Entertainment : ...The movie sticks to a taut narrative and a reasonably tight script, though one really cannot understand the reason behind director Rajkumar Gupta's belief that only fire-spewing television anchors can fight crime and injustice and that heroism equals machismo.... full review

Thumbs up, by Satyen K Bordoloi, Now : ...In this case Tehelka, who did the sting investigation and Star News (and not NDTV that walks away with the praises in the film) that aired the footages did manage to right a wrong... full review

Thumbs up, by Noyon Jyoti Parasara, Now : ...Director Raj Kumar Gupta tries his best to keep his narration true to life. However there are times when he lets go off his restraint and the speed goes slack... full review

Thumbs up, by quintessential bakchod , Passion for Cinema : ...To tell a true story director Raj Kumar Gupta blends a fine amount of fiction to make it sufficiently interesting. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Passion for Cinema : ...Audaciously, Raj Kumar Gupta has avoided the temptation of jamming in gratutious commercial elements. The superb music score by Amit Trivedi is deftly used in the background throughout, instead of the eminently catchy songs becoming a pretext for a cabaret or two.... full review

Thumbs up, by Magik, Passion for Cinema : ...What worked for me was the way the story was intertwined vis-a-vis the micro and the macro of life. Dying soldiers. Dead model. The powerful. The powerless. The victim. The witness. Helplessness abounds. Whoever you are. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankit Ojha, Planet Bollywood : ...I could see handheld camerawork and steadicam operation for more than seventy percent of the film. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Savera R Someshwar, Rediff : ...makes you greedy enough to want more, to wish that a film, given its conscience-awakening plot, was more hard-hitting!... full review

Thumbs up, by Ruchi Mehta, Roochster : ...The cinematography is very very good!... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...One of the most priceless scenes of the film is where the murderer’s ghoonghat-clad mother tells her minister husband “kuch bhi karo, mere Monu ko kuch nahin hona chahiye”. But did this important (it speaks volumes about the murderer’s upbringing) scene need to be repeated thrice? ... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, : ...the movie is a lesson for commoners to fight for their rights until they get justice as it can be delayed but not denied for long.... full review

Thumbs up, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...Director Rajkumar Gupta's NOKJ is a serious and gutsy movie that has started the year on a good note. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...A brilliant fare... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...The film makes you feel angry, sad, frustrated, bitter about the umpteen flaws in our administrative and legal machinery. But more than all this, it fills you with hope and confidence about your own self... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, yahoo! India : ...So, scattered across the film, are tiny details that would lighten a rather tense scene, while retaining its sincerity and importance.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rummana Ahmed, yahoo! India : ...It's interesting how the narrative ties the crime to Delhi's arrogance and abuse of power where every conversation starts with, "Janta nahi main kaun hun?"... full review

Thumbs up, by SpiceZee Bureau, Zee News : ...superbly written and well crafted piece of cinema.... full review

So-So, by Gautam Chintamani, Buzz in Town : ...The second half simply ignores Vidya Balan and one wished Gupta had parallel cut a little more like in the first half where Rani Mukerji doesn’t have many scenes but is never missing. ... full review

So-So, by Bollyfan, Cinemaa Online : ...This is where Vidya Balan rises to the occasion with aplomb. She delivers yet another rocker of a performance to follow her grand acts in Paa & Ishqiya, establishing her as one of the most dependable actresses out there.... full review

So-So, by Manu Agrawal, Desi Martini : ...A dramatized, viewer-friendly version for the uninitiated. For people who have already followed the entire course of events, this becomes a history lesson. The Director could have gone the extra mile, offering some food for thought or inspiring people for a change.... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Gadre, Desi Martini : ...Acting wise the movie neither belongs to Vidya nor Rani... full review

So-So, by Renuka Rao, DNA : ...the screenplay and story development are precise, enjoyable even. But they can’t add much to the film as the story is something that the audience is already aware of thus ruling out the element of surprise. ... full review

So-So, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...But by showing the entire operation being carried out by a real news channel, he has himself distorted the facts and it is quite possible that audiences may in fact believe it was NDTV and Dutt that took the lead in the campaign. ... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Film Impressions : ...In the end, despite its cinematic excellence, the film remains a mixed bag because it shies away from pushing the envelope further.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Garimella, : ...Then comes the second half, when a Madhur Bhandarkar-esque shallowness creeps in.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Virtually every single supporting character is a cardboard caricature, and watching those courtroom scenes in which witnesses are called to testify, is nothing short of sheer torture because of the amateurish acting that's up on display... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ... With a relentlessly moving camera, Gupta ably captures the layers of power and how ruthlessly and swiftly the powerless are silenced.... full review

So-So, by Ajit Duara, Open Magazine : ...Crowded with details, populated with dozens of bit characters and spread over years, No One Killed Jessica is a noble presentation but an exhausting movie experience.... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...There are some interesting smaller acts like the cop played by Rajesh Sharma. Or Samara Chopra as the sexy-’n-spunky Naina Sehgal (inspired by Malini Ramani). But characters like Jessica’s mother turn out flat and Mallika Sehgal (a nod to Bina Ramani) gets caricatured. ... full review

So-So, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...on the whole it doesn’t quite make the impact it should have.... full review

So-So, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ...Amit Trivedi’s music is just plain brilliant and lifts the film on every occasion. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Vikramjit Singh, Desi Martini :'s foolish to expect the movie to be bang on target in a case where even the judiciary has faltered.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rony D'Costa, Desi Martini : ...Saying Fuck, bitch and some other abusive words doesnt make one look agro & tough and when Rani says those lines it looks like she is saying it to make an impact. It doesnt come out as her personality.... full review

Thumbs down, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...Vidya Balan underplays Sabrina, letting the silence speak instead. Her face remains resilient in her pursuit for justice, even if the body language is timid. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...A film is sloppy if any or some of its parts are hurried through, but in No One Killed Jessica, the glaring negligence of everything except how the two main characters should appear and act spirals it down to the realm of mediocre Bollywood... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

14 readers - 13 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Amit : A good summarization of the events that happened.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by bollywood gossip

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Maine Dating

Yay! Thumbs Up, by minesh modi : we hope the movie’s experimentation with two actresses works out well with the audiences.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Movies : The journey of these two women goes trough intense trauma and relentless pressure

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Nikita Saxena : Fantastic Movie

Yay! Thumbs Up, by no one killed Jessica Review : The political thriller, set in New Delhi, was believed to be based on the controversial Jessica Lal

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Pakiisp

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Ritu : 95

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Rocky j

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Saurabh

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Shweta

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Trupz

So-So, by Bollywood News

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Manish wants a drinks at a party after the bar is closed. Celebrity bartender, Jessica Lal, refuses. Manish gets angry and pulls out a gun as a threat. He ends up shooting Jessica. What happens next is a story we all have read about. Now is our chance to go watch it.

What Worked

  • Manish's mother coming in with her one-liner repeatedly. Anywhere else, I would have classified it as irritating slapstick, but here it works too damn well.
  • On a similar note, the "12 o'clock" thing works really well too.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Vidya Balan's shower scene - especially because she had her glasses on.

Parental Guidance:

    It's certified 'A'
  • Violence: A couple of gunshots
  • Language: Lots of abusive language.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A shower scene, a making out scene.
  • Concept: Of fighting for justice till you get it.
  • General Look and Feel: Brown but bright.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

No one killed Jessica - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (11)

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The political thriller, set in New Delhi, was believed to be based on the controversial Jessica Lal murder case. However, later, the director clarified that the title and the script are actually inspired by a headline carried out by The Times Of India in 2006, when the accused in the infamous murder case were acquitted by the lower courts, leading to nationwide protests, reopening of the case and subsequent sentencing of the accused, and not the case per se

The movie is set during the time when entire nation was trying to overcome the firing blazes of the Kargil War. At such a juncture, the nation’s capital witnesses another tragic happening. Jessica, a young attractive celebrity model, tries her hand at bartending. Little did she know that this trial would lead to her death! Reason — her refusal to serve a drink after closing hours! Manu Sharma, son of former Union Minister Vinod Sharma, pulled out the trigger and allegedly murdered Jessica in front of nearly 300 people present at the high-society party. Surprisingly, Manu Sharma was declared innocent by a court in 2006. Here Enter Vidya Balan as Sabrina, Jessica’s sister, and Rani Mukerji as Meera, the feisty TV reporter, who join hands to fight against politics and democracy to outwit Manu and attain justice for the slain Jessica Lal.

Unique for Bollywood which is obsessed with romance and songs and love sequences. No romance, no songs and no running around trees this time. NO ONE KILLED JESSICA is a class apart. Its Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee who would try and amuse the audiences on their own. No Shahrukh no Aamir.

seriously looking forward to the movie but am sceptic whether it will only dramatically emphasise the things we already know or give some more direction to whole Jessica saga ... with media all over the case there is little which is unknown - but its a bold move by the film makers to pick on the subject so quickly .... both female leads are very strong actresses and going from the trailors i hope it is an absolutely in your face movie, however lower expectations!!!

The cop was Rajesh Sharma. You may remember him from Parineeta, Khosla Ka Ghosla or Maachis...

Excellent, was looking forward to this one. Will definitely watch it now!

I guess I entered a wrong email address previously - was surprised to see I had only posted one comment previously! :P

Ah! Glad to hear that this movie is good.

I just observed that Viday Balan hasn't had a flop in 3 years! Her last three films are Paa, Ishqiya and this and has acted only in one movie per year! In fact, she even won awards for the first two. Impressive lady.

Pretty tangential to the post but couldn't resist.

Why was a make out scene necessary. Can't they make a movie without one now ?

True we all know the story, but I still think they did not build up enough tension in the first half.

Nice movie. Like true events based ones.

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