“Kanoon andha hota hai!”
“Geeta pe haath rakh kar kasam khaiye.”
“Adalat is nateeje pe pahunchi hai.”
Not everyone’s stepped inside a real courtroom but Bollywood ensures viewers get a feel of the judiciary with its dramatic interpretation of the same.
Ranging from hard-hitting to crafty, theatrical to emotional, on screen courtroom trials make their case quite strongly.
This week director Hansal Mehta’s Shahid, revolving around a real-life lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi who defends a key accused in the 26/11 blasts, hits the marquee.
While the Rajkumar, K K Menon and Tigmanshu Dhulia starrer is poised to garner critical acclaim, here’s a look at some of the memorable courtroom cases in Hindi films.
After the deft Phas Gaye Re Obama, Subhash Kapoor shows his filmmaking prowess in the satirical, effective Jolly LLB.
Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani pick different sides of the law to defend and argue the case of wealthy brats running down pavement dwellers with his utility vehicle.
Jolly LLB aims to point out at the wobbly state of judiciary without getting overtly preachy or maudlin.
OMG-Oh My God
One of the finest films of last year features Paresh Rawal as an antique seller-turned-lawyer, who fights his own case and argues about an insurance technicality called ‘Act of God’ claiming God must fix for his losses.
With a little divine intervention from Akshay Kumar, he files a lawsuit against all the leading religious outfits and, in the process, makes a profound statement about the ugly businesses carried out in the name of spirituality.
Yash Chopra alternates between dreamy mustard fields in Punjab and a dull courtroom in Pakistan for his cross-border romance, Veer-Zaara.
Rani Mukerji plays a fiery Pakistani lawyer resolving to seek justice for Shah Rukh Khan’s Veer (Shah Rukh Khan), an Indian air force pilot languishing in their prison for the past 22 years.
Veer is believed to be a spy but in truth he made the mistake of falling in love with its aristocratic local, Zaara (Preity Zinta).
Legalities are the last thing a Bollywood film is concerned with as long as the entertainment quotient is fulfilled.
And so within minutes Kareena Kapoor replaces Annu Kapoor to fight her husband’s (Akshay Kumar) case, at whom, ex-flame Priyanka Chopra has thrown in molestation charges.
Kyunki Main Jhoot Nahi Bolta
Govinda keeps the laughs coming in David Dhawan’s unabashed copy of Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar with his trademark antics.
The fun lies in watching Govinda’s metamorphosis from a full-on fibber who saves many a criminal’s skins with his fraudulent defence to a compulsively truthful lawyer going on a verbal tirade against them.
Sunny Deol is the face of legal frustration and justice seeker in Rajkumar Santoshi’s woman-centric drama, Damini.
As the drunk, eccentric lawyer, Deol holds court with his tareekh pe tareekh outbursts and dhaai kilo haath threats while crusading for Meenakshi Seshadri’s eyewitness account of her maid’s rape.
In Subhash Ghai’s Meri Jung, the courtroom is a battlefield where an experienced lawyer who’s never lost a case and a bright young newbie are at loggerheads on both a personal and professional level.
Their most engaging face off comes about when an impressive Anil Kapoor humiliates an irritated Amrish Puri with his powerful logic, facts and conviction in a lawsuit about medical negligence.
Shatrughan Sinha plays a successful lawyer whose pointed arguments in the courtroom rub off many a crime lords in the wrong direction.
This has a direct impact on his personal life since he's implicated falsely, unfairly imprisoned and then seeks revenge in a fashion his erstwhile profession wouldn't dare approve.
Sunil Dutt slips into a solicitor’s costume in Raj Khosla’s musical mystery, Mera Saaya.
What’s he trying to prove? The woman (Sadhana) who bears an uncanny resemblance to his dead wife is not really the wife she claims to be.
In Yash Chopra’s lost and found drama, Raaj Kumar is framed for a murder he didn’t commit by his employee Rehman even as Sunil Dutt defends him in court.
The dramatic proceedings are interspersed by witnesses like Shashi Kapoor and Balraj Sahni leading to an ultimate reunion where, previously oblivious to the truth, the father and his three sons discover their blood ties.
Poetic justice, really.
Emotional bonds are often tested within the confines of a stuffy courtroom.
And so a debutant lawyer (Nargis) defies her magistrate guardian (Prithviraj Kapoor) to prove her sweetheart and his discarded son (Raj Kapoor) took a man’s life only out of self-defence.
Lookalikes and convoluted motives, resounding speeches and curious eyewitnesses fill up the proceedings of B R Chopra’s Kanoon.
Rajendra Kumar’s conscientious advocate goes against his mentor and to-be-father-in-law Ashok Kumar to stand up for an innocent man only to make some mind-blowing discoveries.