Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors
Director: Rohan Sippy
Cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Kirti Kulhari, Anupriya Goenka, Jisshu Sengupta, Deepti Naval
Streaming on: Disney + Hotstar VIP
A wife stabs her lawyer husband in the gut. She confesses the crime and is put behind the bars. A legal trial will follow. It’s an open and shut case. But only on the surface. There’s something fishy. Jisshu Sengupta plays the renowned lawyer husband Bikram Chandra. And Kirti Kulhari plays the wife Anuradha ‘Anu’ Chandra. A sort of outcast lawyer Madhav Mishra played by Pankaj Tripathi (what a superb actor) takes up Anuradha’s case. The lawyer community is already against him as he’s going to fight for the accused in a lawyer’s murder.
Mishra finds support in Nikhat Hussain (Anupriya Goenka) to dig deep to know Anuradha’s motive behind the murder. The narrative hangs on the thread of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. There’s something about Anuradha’s character; a role brilliantly played by Kulhari. You can’t just label her as a criminal. Kulhari brings out that vulnerability and anxiety in the oppressed Anu with utmost sincerity.
There are not enough words to describe the effortless genius of Pankaj Tripathi as Madhav Mishra. He is an outcast underdog who is smart enough to get the dope on any case even if sometimes he himself has to spy on people. He is ably supported by a sincere Anupriya Goenka as his colleague and a surprise package in Khushboo Atre who plays his newly wedded wife Ratna.
No doubt, Tripathi and Kulhari are the stars of Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors. But the ensemble cast consisting of Jisshu Sengupta, Shilpa Shukla, Kalyanee Mule, Ajeet Singh Palawat, Deepti Naval, Mita Vashisht and Ashish Vidyarthi only adds value to the show. The sensitively written script by Apurva Asrani and Peter Moffat is well executed by director Rohan Sippy. They spare us from the clichés of the courtroom dramas. Tribhuvan Babu Sadnani’s camera engages with each character intimately.
Contrary to the sensationalized massy legal dramas of the past, Bollywood has produced some sensible courtroom dramas in recent times; Jolly LLB series, Section 375, Pink, Mulk to name a few. This is the second season of Criminal Justice, adapted from the original BBC series of the same title. Haven’t watched that one. Nor the first season of its Indian version. But having thoroughly enjoyed binge watching this season, definitely gonna watch the first one really soon. You must too.