Illegal is a VootSelect original web series streaming from 12th May 2020 and stars Neha Sharma, Piyush Mishra, Akshay Oberoi, and Satyadeep Misra.
So after a long hiatus, Voot Select has launched its new original series “Illegal“. Voot Select platform really came out as a surprise element. It has consistently given us some fine content in various genres. Asur, Marzi, and The Raikar Case were some of the amazing series.
Illegal, as the title suggests, is a courtroom drama. Or at least it sounded like one from the trailer and promos. But even this genre has a lot of variety. It could be on the lighter side like My Cousin Vinny and Jolly LLB. Or it could be a seriously intense one Damini or Section 375.
Illegal doesn’t definitely belong to the first category fo-sho. It somewhat falls on the second category but not fully. So what this series is really about?
Illegal is more of a conflict. The conflict of morality. The conflict between the fair and the unfair. The conflict between the entitled and non-entitled. How really legal is the quest for justice? How much support does one have to gather from the crutches of illegality?
Illegal is written by Reshu Nath and directed by Sahir Raza. It stars Neha Sharma, Piyush Mishra, Satyadeep Misra, Akshay Oberoi, Kubbra Sait, and Deepak Tijori. Before the review, let us see what the show is all about.
Niharika Singh, an honest and daredevil lawyer stays with her mother in Bangalore. After publicly exposing a powerful figure of rape, she gets fired by her firm. Luckily, she receives a job offer from another law firm in Delhi led by reputed lawyer Janardan Jaitley a.k.a JJ.
Jaitley assigns her the case of Meher Salam, a woman serving a term for 15 years for murdering her family. She encounters various elements from her traumatic past namely her ex-boyfriend Akshay(who is the son of JJ) and her father Surya Shekhawat who left her years ago.
When Akshay’s best friend Neeraj(who turns out to be Surya’s son from second marriage) is accused of rape by their employee named Vartika, Niharika is put on the case much to her dismay. Vartika is represented by Puneet, a former associate of JJ.
A long saga of manipulations, murders, cover-ups follow as Niharika and Puneet fight head on to defend their clients. How Niharika deals with the dark reality of the judicial system while longing for the truth forms the entire premise of Illegal.
1. Exciting premise
The concept of Illegal looked pretty intriguing. An honest girl who has just started realizing the horrors of the legal system facing the biggest moral conflict of her life sounds some exciting stuff. The people who we all see keepers of law are actually the manipulators for the entitled culprits.
The reality of a trial is not only fought within the courtroom but also outside it is aptly shown. In fact, the external factors contribute even more in making or breaking a case. Exuberant advocates stooping to any low to prove the culprit’s innocence is heart-breaking.
The concept of the honest stooping even lower to beat the duplicitous sounded something sensational.
2. Some performances
The cast of Illegal seemed a good combo of the old and new faces in the OTT field. Neha Sharma who mostly did romantic and comedy movies was seen in a much meatier role. Her role as a passionate and hungry-for-justice advocate was praiseworthy.
Sharma showed an amazing temperament with her character of Niharika. The grief of knowingly getting sucked into the vortex of deceit is evident from her performance. The dilemma faced by every person while choosing between career and morals is very well shown by her. Not exaggerating, but this was supposedly her best till now.
Piyush Mishra as the sinister JJ was flawless. This was just an upgraded version of his role in Pink. He was very impressive with his subtle but sadistic glint. Mishra yet again proved why he is a master of dialogue delivery with his powerful one-liners.
Satyadeep Misra who won everyone’s hearts in Thinkistan proved his mettle in Illegal too. The character of the reformed and awakened Puneet suited him well. His chemistry with Neha Sharma was pleasing. He was a very positive character who provided a ray of hope with his presence.
1. The direction and the execution of the story
Great pieces of content have been ruined just by mediocre direction. The same thing happened in the case of Illegal. A clumsy direction coupled with lazy writing let down the series.
The opening was very slow and dull. The courtroom dramas are usually fast-paced and come straight to the case. In this series, as we are acquainted with the “Meher Salam” case, the focus is abruptly shifted from that case to a whole new rape case.
There are some exciting plot-twists in the case as we saw in Section 375 movie. However, the rape case becomes predictable after a few episodes.
Finally, when the focus re-shifts to the Meher Salam case, it ends so abruptly that it leaves the audience in a state of utter disbelief.
2. Too many subplots
The two cases were the focus of the series. However, to bulk the story up, a hell lot of subplots were thrown in. The thing was that these subplots went nowhere. They did almost nothing to grow the storyline.
The bitter relationship of Niharika with Akshay, Akshay’s failing marriage, Rohini’s(JJ’s wife) paranoia, and many numerous plots came and went. The timing of bringing up these subplots was so bad that it disturbed the entire momentum of the series.
3. Some performances
While the lead actors gave fine performances, the supporting ones were a huge letdown. Akshay Oberoi who received accolades in The Test Case and Selection Day was clearly off-colour in Illegal. He showed no authority whatsoever.
Senior actors like Deepak Tijori and Kitu Gidwani struggled to keep up with rest. Absolute zero display of energy in their performances dampened the scenes.
So To Say,
- Illegal is not your regular courtroom drama where you could expect a good debate.
- Weak execution and average performances failed to make the series as expected.
- First time, a series from VootSelect failed to impress.
My Rating for Illegal: 🌟 🌟 🌟 (3/5)
Neha Sharma…as Niharika SinghPiyush Mishra…as Janardan Jaitley (JJ)Akshay Oberoi…as Akshay JaitleySatyadeep Misra…as PuneetDeepak Tijori…as Surya ShekhawatKubbra Sait…as Meher SalamAnkit Gupta…as Neeraj ShekhawatVicky Arora…as RandeepKriti Vij…as SueNikhil Sangha…as SKKitu Gidwani…as Rohini Aditi Tailang…as VartikaParul Gulati…as DevikaUmang Jain…Sukhmani Rishabh Chadha…as Onir
So, that was my take on Voot Select’s Illegal. You can try it if you have nothing better to watch in lockdown.