03 August, 2021

Peek Beyond Order, Order

Why Bollywood courtroom dramas are so unreal? Because as a society we’re happy with the make-believe

Judge Tripathi
Saurabh Shukla in Jolly L.L.B.
Peek Beyond Order, Order

For over eight decades, we have been depicting courts in our films. And, for over eight decades, the reality of a courtroom or the character of a judge or even the nuance of law has evaded our films. Evident flaws notwithstanding, courtroom dramas have often done well at the all-important box office. Many have achieved iconic status. B.R. Chopra’s Kanoon, Baat Ek Raat Ki of Dev Anand (in picture below) and Waheeda Rehman, cult classics like Waqt and Ek Ruka Hua Faisla or even Damini and the more recent Pink, Court and, of course, Jolly L.L.B., have all tasted critical and commercial success.

Like cinema of any other genre, our filmy courts appeal to the emotional rather than the factual. Big courtrooms with people comfortably seated in neat rows, boisterous arguments between lawyers, a grieving victim or a menacing accused, and a haggard judge screaming “Order, Order” off and on until he gets to pronounce the judgment, taazirat-e-Hind ke tehat! This has been the standard template for most courtroom dramas.

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