Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

Like its title, the 2023 Bollywood court-drama “Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai” (translation – “One Man is Enough”) relies entirely on its lead actor to steer the film. Manoj Bajpayee plays honest lawyer PC Solanki, who represents a young girl who was sexually assaulted by a famous self-styled Godman. Can an ordinary lawyer take on a rich and powerful figure who has the best legal representation in the country?

Directed by Apoorv Singh Karki, the film wastes no time in establishing its primary premise. Sixteen-year-old Nu (Adrija Sinha) files a case against Baba at a Delhi police station, leading to his subsequent arrest under the POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) act. Despite Baba’s lawyers attempting to dismiss the case as a “conspiracy to defame their client,” PC Solanki counters their efforts through steadfast determination, confronting victim-shaming and witness intimidation.

While a significant portion of the story unfolds in courtrooms in Rajasthan and the Delhi High Court, the film manages to strike a balance between its serious theme and subtle humor. The writers cleverly employ caricature-like defense lawyers, providing amusement to viewers familiar with the legal personalities these characters are based on. By playing with their names, such as those inspired by renowned legal figures in India like Ram Jethmalani, Salman Khurshid, and Subramanian Swamy, the film adds an element of identification. However, this tactic also undermines the overall impact of the film, as the defense lawyers become mere running gags without contributing substantially to the legal drama. In a story of this nature, a strong antagonist is crucial, yet “Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai” solely positions Manoj Bajpayee’s character as the heroic pro-bono lawyer, lacking formidable adversaries.

Regardless, the movie is gripping and maintains a steady momentum throughout its runtime, faltering only in the last thirty minutes. Viewers are treated to Bollywood-style dialogue delivery during court proceedings, which, albeit unrealistic, will thrill those who enjoy grandiose performances in their movies. Some of the emotional statements momentarily slow down the pace, however, a reference to the Ramayan by Bajpayee’s Solanki in his concluding statement is very powerful and excellently delivered. Except for a slightly labored Rajasthani accent, Manoj Bajpayee gets everything right for his part in “Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai” and makes it worth a watch.

It’s a 7 on 10 from me. You can stream it on Zee5.

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