Illegal (Voot, 10 Episodes)
Starring Piyush Mishra, Neha Sharma, Akshay Oberoi, Satyadeep Mishra and Kubbra Sait
Directed by Sahir Raza
Rating: ** ½
A watchable cast holding together a seriously flawed plot like a group of Corona doctors in an infected area sees this reasonably gripping though flawed series to its finishing line.
Has there been any other series on the working of the legal system as seen through a legal firm? The lack of ethics is identifiable. Once I had consulted a lawyer to file a defamation case. For an hour of consultation he asked for Rs 20,000, and this was 13 years ago. The legal eagles in this series did not strike me as particularly committed or fiercely dedicated to be on the side of the truth. And that, I think is the correct way to view any high-profile profession in contemporary times.
Nobody is in it for the sake of the truth. This rather disturbing premise underlines the series as we plunge into the high-profile case of an affluent rape-accused.
Now, let’s pause here for a very basic problem in the plotting. The whole legal rigmarole involving a privileged rape-accused brat is rigorously reminiscent of Ruchi Narain’s recent Netflix film Guilty. Here, the unknown actor who plays the wealthy rape-accused (no information on credits, etc available) is astonishing in his arrogance, as he tells his beautiful lawyer Neha Sharma (why isn’t she seen more often?) why he doesn’t “need”to rape any woman.
It’s an admirably well crafted sequence with the look of ill-concealed disgust on Neha Sharma’s face crystallizing all that we feel about the ‘boislockerrom’ brand of ingrained misogyny in our society.
Rather than exploring the relationship between privilege and sexual violation the plot in Illegal goes into serpentine subplots including a major diversion about a gritty Muslim woman in death row, played by an unrecognizable and feisty Kubbra Sait.
By the time all the characters get into top gear, nearly everyone is biologically related to everyone else, and not in a very credible or intelligent way. It almost seems as though the series got off to a well-heeled start and then lost momentum in pursuit of renewed shock-affects pounded into the plot.
Still , with its lineup of likeable actors like Akshay Oberoi (looking dapper), Neha Sharma (looking lovely), Piyush Mishra (looking affluent for a change), Deepak Tijori (looking incurably dour) and Kitu Gidwani (looking lost in what is unarguably her stupidest role to date) this is not an entirely unwatchable series unless you are looking for something on a par with Suits or Legal Practice. In which case you are in for a miserably high level of disappointment.