I have always been fascinated with legal dramas or movies: what started as a fleeting interest in The Practice and Ally Mcbeal as a kid, turned into an addiction to Boston Legal, not to mention movies like Kramer vs Kramer, Philadelphia, Primal Fear, A Few Good Men, Erin Brockovich and of course, The Accused. In parallel, I was devouring John Grisham’s books though To Kill a Mockingbird is my favourite.
So yes, I had a soft corner for the courtroom: I liked the idea of justice, I liked the articulate debates, I liked the suspense and most of all, I liked the closing arguments by the lawyers of both parties. While it came across as a noble profession, it had a certain amount of glamour attached to it, and even though I never seriously considered a career in law (thanks to my single-minded focus on being a mediocre engineer from some random college in Kolkata so that I can work with TCS in Salt Lake), Law was something which has enamoured me over the years.
Until this weekend, when I saw Jolly LLB. Now the movie was strictly average, though Boman Irani was at his suave best and Arshad Warsi once again proved that he is one of the most under-rated actors in Bollywood. But more importantly, it showed the gory side of the profession, especially in the Indian context, in which the crisp outfits, the swanky courtrooms and the successful, confident advocates were replaced by the realities of corruption, botched-up police investigation, the power of money vs. the helplessness of the marginalized victims and of course the struggle of a mediocre small-town lawyer with questionable ethics.
And then I realized, there is no such thing as a ‘noble profession’: there would always be people in ANY vocation (think education and think Arindam Chawdhury) who would give it a bad name and similarly, there would always be people who would be honourable, honest and conscientious, irrespective of what they are doing.
Everything has a shade of grey; the trick lies in painting it white…