MUMBAI: First things first. Director Rajkumar Gupta can stop biting his nails.Sabrina Lal, the sister of the slain model Jessica Lal,loved the film No One Killed Jessica on her sister's life.
Speaking on Wednesday morning which by a strange coincidence happened to be Jessica's birthday, on the night after the special screening for her in Delhi, Sabrina said, "It was eerie..and very moving.We were all deeply relieved by how true to life the film has turned out. When we agreed to let them make the movie, me and and family had been warned about the 'Bollywood types'. We were told, 'You don't know what you are getting into.Why have you given the NOC? Now they'll just do anything they like.' But watching the film I feel vindicated. It will make Jessica kind of immortal."
Admiring the director for his diligent recreation of the harrowing time after Jessica's murder in 1999 when Sabrina and her family knocked on doors for justice Sabrina sighs, "Rajkumar Gupta has replicated almost every detail of the events of the proceedings after Jessica's death. Even the dialogues and conversations in the film are what I've gone through. All of us, my sister cousins etc , were like, 'My god how did the director know all this?'
The director had got the script approved by Sabrina. Says Sabrina appreciatively , "Rajkumar had sat with me for almost a week. We discussed everything about the case. And it's all there now.I've moved on, moved away from even the house where Jessica and I lived.I haven't held on to any of her possessions except the photographs. Ironically the film will now be there to remind us of her all the time."
Sabrina admits it's a good feeling to see her sister get justice in such unexpected ways. "After the tragedy when we were all devastated by the sheer randomness of it my mother had said, 'There has to be a reason for it.' Now I feel Jessica didn't die for nothing. Her death made people question the whole legal system where an influential and rich politician's son could walk free after a murder, was questioned.He (Manu Sharma) thought he had gotten away with it. There was this whole awakening of the country's conscience after Jessica. We suffered. But I feel it wasn't in vain.And now there's the film.It does Jessica justice in an unexpected way."
Though Sabrina is thrilled by the uncanny likeness of the actress(Myra Karn) who plays Jessica she doesn't think Vidya resembles her(Sabrina) in any detail. "Vidya is brilliant. But I don't think she was trying to replicate my personality in any way. No,we are not similar at all. But the girl plays Jessica is so much like Jessica in her vivacity and joie de vivre. In fact there's a sequence of a candle-light vigil where Myra's picture looks so much like Jessica in that picture we've seen of her in all the newspapers."
Speaking of justice denied we cannot but bring up the Arushi case. And Sabrina says, "That poor girl. How can they just close her case like this? I hope the girl finds justice, just like Jessica did."
In the evening it's Jessica's birthday gathering. "We are getting together,my cousins and relatives. We will just try to remember her without grief," says Sabrina.