Director: Sahir Raza
Cast: Piyush Mishra, Neha Sharma, Akshay Oberoi, Satyadeep Mishra, Kubbra Sait
Available On: Voot Select
Duration: 35 minutes/ 10 episodes
Language: Hindi, English
Story: Illegal is a courtroom drama, that explores the roles of media and politics in corruption crime and running the nation. It is written by Reshu Nath, directed by Sahir Raza, and produced by Sameer Khan.
Review: Starring Neha Sharma in the leading role, Illegal is a courtroom drama that depicts how everyone feels about the law. While there are some lawyers who will lay their lives for the truth, there are others who are like mercenaries, and can be appointed to win cases even if it means letting the guilty walk away free. The series starts with promising something exciting but slowly fades away amid too many plot points and a need to catch the audience off guard.
We first meet Neha Sharma as, Niharica, who is called the mad lawyer because against all odds, she outed a sexual predator at her previous firm and won the case, proving him guilty. In the first scene, she is being interviewed by India’s biggest criminal lawyer, who hires her because she cannot help but tell the truth always. Neha quickly finds out she has to move to Delhi after accepting a job, but considers rejecting the offer because of past trauma.
Directed by Sahir Raza, Illegal shows how the viewers already feel by the law, manipulated and unable to trust. You struggle through the eyes of Niharica, unsure if you are supposed to believe the victim or the accused. The plot, however, loses the momentum because of the several detours it takes. We have sub-plots like, Niharica’s past with colleague Akshay, her pro bono case about a woman on a death row, the accused being her stepbrother, then her father coming back into her life. On the other side, there are political agendas at hand, media manipulation and so much more. All of it takes away the focus from the centre of the story, the high-profile case of an affluent rape accused.
The cast and their performances make up for the loss, given how everyone currently feels about the Boys Locker Room, you connect with Niharica only instantly, as she teaches her client to respect her and the victim in the case, even though she is his lawyer. She also schools him when he says, ‘I don’t need to rape women’. Piyush Mishra, Akshay Oberoi, Satyadeep Mishra, Kubbra Sait, have all played their part well like pieces of a puzzle that fit together, only the puzzle doesn’t paint the right picture.
The intentions of the show are commendable, but some of it is lost in the execution. Illegal is definitely one step up as we get to see a real courtroom drama, in a very true sense to society case and situation. I would still recommend the show for the actors’ performance and the story that it aims to tell, along with the questions that it wishes to raise.