No One Killed Jessica is a 2011 Indian biographical thriller film written and directed by Raj Kumar Gupta and produced by Ronnie Screwvala at an investment of ₹15 crores. Based on the Jessica Lal murder case No One Killed Jessica stars Vidya Balan as Jessica’s sister and Rani Mukerji who plays a character inspired by a news reporter following the case. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub marking his acting debut plays Jessica’s murderer Manu Sharma.
No One Killed Jessica was theatrically released in India on January 9, 2011 with distribution by UTV Motion Pictures. Highlighted for the direction, crew work and cast performances No One Killed Jessica earned ₹84 crores worldwide and was a sleeper hit. The following year No One Killed Jessica was nominated for five Filmfare Awards out of which the Best Supporting Actress accolade was won by Mukerji.
Tending bar at an elite event in Delhi, India, Jessica (Myra Karn) refuses to serve three men after the last call. One of the men, Manish (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), who’s the son of a big-time politician, shoots her in the head in response. There are dozens of eyewitnesses, but as Jessica’s sister, Sabrina Lal (Vidya Balan), discovers, they are either conveniently forgetful or willing to sell their testimony to the highest bidder, leaving an open-and-shut case hostage to greed and political influence.
Manish is taken into custody by the police and investigations are begun. However, due to political pressure, all the witnesses turn hostile one by one, including Jessica’s actor and model friend Vikram Jai Singh. Inspector N.K. (Rajesh Sharma) informs Sabrina that one of the two bullets that were sent for verification has been replaced. Sabrina’s repeated attempts into getting the witnesses and evidence in order to prove Jessica’s crime fail one by one. The court case runs until the year 2006. Due to the lack of evidence and witnesses, the court acquits the culprits. Sabrina’s mother suffers a heart attack due to the trauma caused by the news and dies in the hospital. Hearing this, Sabrina’s father also collapses in the hospital and is taken to the ICU.
Meanwhile, Meera Gaiti (Rani Mukerji), a reporter, finds out about the acquittal through the newspaper and gets shocked since she expected Jessica’s case to be an open and shut case. Meera takes the matter in her hands and plans to get Justice for Jessica. With the approval of her editor, she performs various sting operations and exposes the recklessness of the law and order of the country while raising questions about the police and the authorities. N.K. Singh realizes his mistake and helps Meera by sending her the tape of Manish where he confesses his crime. Meera uses the clip to exploit the cases and starts to build up pressure on the system and the political party.
Soon, the public that has been following the case since so long on television decides to protest against the powerful clout and bring justice to Jessica. A number of phone calls, SMS, and voice messages are sent through the channel in support for Jessica. Meera uses this entire support from the public to reach out to the Government and even the President for their help. A Candlelight march is organized for Jessica by people of Delhi to stand for her and demand justice. Meanwhile, Sabrina, who has been through all the trauma while fighting for her sister in court, seems to have given up and moved on. Meera approaches Sabrina to stand up again for her sister and assures her that she would get justice this time as she has the support of the entire city.
Political pressure gets mounted on the family of Manish and his politician father resigns from his position. The High Court summons the police for the recklessness they showed in the case. The police appeal to the High Court to have the case re-opened and it gets accepted. The case goes on fast track. The case goes further into Supreme Court where Manish Bharadwaj is found guilty for the crime and is sent for life imprisonment. His allies Vishal Rastogi and Lucky Singh get punished with four years in jail.
In the end, it is known that Sabrina runs an advertising agency and does not have a boyfriend while her father is no more. Meera lives her life as she is.
Rani Mukerji – Meera Gaiti,
Vidya Balan – Sabrina Lal, Jessica’s sister
Myra Karn – Jessica Lal
Neil Bhoopalam – Vikram Jai Singh
Manoj Bakshi – Judge
Rajesh Sharma – N. K. (police officer investigating the case)
Sunil Sonar – Pramod Bharadwaj
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub – Manu Sharma
Ashu Sharma – Lucky Gill
Bubbles Sabharwal – Mallika Sehgal
Samara Chopra – Naina Sehgal
Yogendra Tikku – Sanjit Lal (Jessica’s father)
Geeta Sudan – June Lal (Jessica’s mother)
Satyadeep Mishra – Gaurav, Meera’s boss
Anuj Tikku – The man in plane with Meera
Sushil Dahiya – R. D. Rastogi
Jagat Rawat – Dharam Saxena
Avijit Dutt – B. M. Pandit
Aayeinaa Sareen – News Announcer
Maanvi Gagroo – Aditi (journalist following the case)
Abhishek Banerjee – Pickpocket