Story and Screenplay
The Jessica murder case first and the judgement next had created such a furore that the story is quite fresh in everybody’s mind. As far as the screenplay, penned by Raj Kumar Gupta, is concerned, it has its highs and lows. A more taut script could have done away with the dips that come in the first as well as second halves of the drama.
On the plus side are the characterisation of Mira Gaity whose straightforwardness will appeal to the audience. She uses four-letter words in her routine conversations so easily that that would be a new high for the viewers. Of course, since most of the swear words are in English, the high would be experienced more by the city-based audience. Here, it must be mentioned that a lot of other dialogues too in the film are in English, taking away, to some extent, the universality of appeal of the subject.
Jessica’s character has not been established well enough for the audience to feel sympathy towards her. In fact, considering that she frequents pubs, consumes alcohol, serves drinks to guys and girls, dances with guys in drunken stupor and uses four-letter words, the orthodox audience, which means a large chunk of the audience outside the 15 or 20 major cities of the country, may not feel for Jessica after she is murdered because in their psyche, she would be passed off as a girl of easy virtues and, therefore, someone not to be sympathised with, mainly for the company she kept. Had the director cast an established heroine with a clean screen image in the role of Jessica and/or had he taken care to present the girl as being noble, kind or golden-hearted, it would have made it far easier for even the orthodox public to love Jessica and feel sympathetic towards her.
It must be mentioned here that all is still not lost because the Jessica murder case in real life was such a high-profile case that a lot of people felt hatred towards the perpetrators of the crime on her without even knowing her. But if one is talking about the screenplay, the lack of establishment of Jessica’s character is a minus point.
An unfortunate part of the drama is that a section of the audience would not even feel hatred towards the eyewitnesses who turn hostile because their hostility has a lot to do with their fearing for their own lives. With no protection being offered to eyewitnesses, a lot of the viewers would not feel like condemning their hostile attitude. However, it is a fact that the sentiment of condemnation would’ve added to the enjoyment of the drama.
While Mira’s crusade against the murderer and his accomplices after they are acquitted is exciting, Sabrina’s lack of participation irritates the audience, if only because her behaviour borders on defiance rather than on dejection, despair and despondence. Note, for instance, how Sabrina throws the telephone receiver back into the cradle because she is aware that the media is trying to get in touch with her. Even Sabrina’s outburst about how her personal life was being ruined because of the murder case may not be appreciated by a section of the viewers because although it reflects her frustration at the corrupt legal system, it somewhere unwittingly shows her as being a bit selfish. Since Sabrina and her family are the victim’s kin, the traditional audience would only like to feel sorry for them, maybe shed some tears for them. Scenes like the above come in the way of their ‘enjoyment’ of an emotional drama.