‘ILLEGAL 2’: FLAWED YET BINGE-WORTHY AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING LEGAL DRAMA - The Daily Guardian
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‘ILLEGAL 2’: FLAWED YET BINGE-WORTHY AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING LEGAL DRAMA

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Towards the end of the film Section 375, a female lawyer tells her mentor, “Sir, I don’t think that the justice was served.” The senior lawyer retorts, “We are not in the business of justice. We are in the business of law.” The lawyer’s remark makes it absolutely clear that justice and law are not synonymous. At the end of the day, all laws are subject to human interpretation and a good lawyer understands that there are enough provisions and technicalities to be toyed around with. It all boils down to one thing—whether you can prove it in the court of law. ‘Illegal 2,’ the second season of the Voot Select series ‘Illegal,’ elevates the high stakes showdown between Niharika Singh (played by Neha Sharma) and her former mentor-turned-adversary Janardhan Jaitley (essayed by Piyush Misra) to the next level as the idealistic Niharika navigates contentious legal cases, high profile rivalries and a complex personal life while trying to establish her new firm which she has started in partnership with her adversary from the first season, Puneet Tandon (portrayed Satyadeep Mishra). Directed by Bollywood veteran Ashwini Chaudhary, ‘Illegal 2’ also stars Akshay Oberoi, Parul Gulati, Tanuj Virwani, Sonnalli Seygall, and Achint Kaur.

The first season of ‘Illegal’ had ended with the promise of a rather sadistic and macabre revenge arc with Deepak Tijori’s character orchestrating the kidnapping of his illegitimate daughter Niharika in order to punish her for framing his rapist son. But ‘Illegal 2’ abandons that storyline as we get to learn that Niharika’s father had succumbed to a massive heart attack. Instead, the second season of the show seems invested in exploring the mentor v/s mentee battle between Janardhan Jaitley and Niharika Singh with the former embarking on an ambitious campaign to be the next Chief Minister of Delhi and the latter starting her own firm. Other than following their rivalry, the season also endeavors to offer an insider’s look at the treacherous world of unscrupulous lawyers, manipulative business moguls, and incorrigibly dirty politicians. The big question, however, always remains: will justice ever be served in the world of law?

Now, over the years, we have seen a lot of Indian films and series set in a courtroom making a mockery out of the judicial processes. We all have seen legal dramas which are all about loud dialogues and histrionics. And wherein the courtrooms are depicted as circuses and the judges are supposed to be ring masters yelling “Order! Order!” again and again. But all that has been changing gradually with filmmakers striving for realism in place of melodrama. In recent times, we have witnessed a decent number of well-made courtroom dramas which have brought some dignity to the genre. Speaking of ‘Illegal,’ the series isn’t essentially a courtroom drama as most of the events unfold outside the courtroom. It can be more appropriately called a legal drama. The same is true of ‘Illegal 2’. Interestingly, the show is at its best when it explores the personal lives of the characters: be it Janardhan Jaitley, Niharika Singh, Puneet Tandon, or others.

In comparison to the first season, Neha Sharma’s acting in ‘Illegal 2’ suffers from some inconsistency. Niharika, most of time, is the quintessential damsel in distress and so when she suddenly unleashes her shrewd side to outwit her formidable adversaries, it’s a little difficult to accept her character as realistic as it’s intended to be. Sharma’s performance in the first season was far more consistent. Yes, Niharika is fast evolving as a ruthless professional in the legal arena, but the transition ought to have been a little more subtle. In comparison to Sharma, Piyush Mishra’s performance in ‘Illegal 2’ is far more measured than his over-the-top act in the first season. But the real star of the second season is Akshay Oberoi who is absolutely brilliant to watch in the role of Akshay Jaitley, Janardhan’s son. It’s a deeply nuanced performance with multiple layers. One ought to watch him in the Eros Now series ‘Flesh’ to truly appreciate his versatility as an actor. After the promise he offered in the first season, Satyadeep Dubey is terribly underutilised in ‘Illegal 2’. The same is true of Parul Gulati. Another standout performance comes from Achint Kaur who proves to be a real scene-stealer. Tanuj Virwani is also solid in his role.

Back in 2004, Star One used to air a legal drama series by the name of Siddhant with Pawan Shankar in the titular role. I personally learned so much about the Indian legal system watching that show as a teenager straight out of school. Also, it was thrilling to watch. Now, I don’t think that anything since then has come close to the brilliance of Siddhant as far as the long-form narrative is concerned (whether Indian television or web). The first season of ‘Illegal’ although not in the same class as Siddhant did a good job of tackling issues such as rape, capital punishment and euthanasia. As far as ‘Illegal 2’ is concerned, the show is both binge-worthy as well as thought-provoking despite some obvious shortcomings and flaws. And the credit goes to Ashwini Chaudhary and team for their fearless approach in examining juvenile justice, cybercrime and digital stalking, and the rise of toxic culture on social media platforms.

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FOUR FILMMAKERS WHO GAVE LOVE A NEW DEFINITION WITH THEIR WORK

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MUMBAI: Indian Cinema enjoys playing with the concept of love. Over the years, filmmakers have come up with a different take on romance. Our screens have lit with passionate love sagas to nuanced love triangles to new-age digital romance.

But as conventional as the subject is, our industry has seen some of the most beautiful, unconventional, and relatably extraordinary love stories by a few filmmakers. These master storytellers have given the audience cinematic gems that presented ‘love’ with a new lens.

Here’s listing four directors and their work below one must watch for a refreshing take!

SHOOJIT SIRCAR: While Shoojit Sircar has diverse filmography, his representation of love in ‘October’ has a different fan base. The idea of slow and undefinable romance between two individuals was hauntingly beautiful.

IMTIAZ ALI: Well, Imtiaz Ali has given many modern-age classic love stories. His bubbly tale of romance with ‘Jab We Met’ and the intense saga of passion with ‘Rockstar’ seem to top the list.

VINIL MATHEW: Vinil Mathew discussed the nuances and messiness of love with both his projects. While ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ dived into many layers of human relationships, ‘Haseen Dillruba’ took a pulpy route into small-town passion and infidelity.

SHAKUN BATRA: Shakun Batra is making noise for his attempt to talk about infidelity in a relationship with ‘Gehraiyaan’. He also took an unconventional route with ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’ when a love story ends with a friendship.

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KATRINA KAIF ROCKS BEAUTIFUL BEACH LOOK AT MALDIVES

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MUMBAI : Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif is all set to embrace the summer vibes, as seen from her latest social media post.

Taking to her Instagram handle on Monday, the actor, who is currently in the Maldives for a project, shared pictures from the beach. In the photos, the ‘Sooryavanshi’ star can be seen dressed in a white-and-green shirt with matching floral shorts. In the caption, she wrote, “#myhappyplace.”

Fans, friends and colleagues flooded the post with likes and comments. Zoya Akhtar dropped a heart emoticon. “Queen of million hearts,” a fan added.

On the work front, Katrina’s future projects include ‘Tiger 3’, ‘Merry Christmas’ and Farhan Akhtar’s ‘Jee Le Zara’, co-starring Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt.

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RAJKUMMAR, BHUMI UNVEIL THEIR FIRST LOOK FROM ‘BADHAAI DO’

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MUMBAI: Get ready to have a smile on your face as actors Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar have shared the first glimpse of their comedy film ‘Badhaai Do’. On Monday, the two took to their respective Instagram handles and unveiled the film’s first poster. In the poster, Rajkummar and Bhumi can be seen dressed as a bride and a groom. The image also shows them covering each other’s mouths.

Reportedly, Rajkummar plays the role of a cop and Bhumi essays the character of a PT teacher in the movie. “Kal aa raha hai hamara trailer. Kal Badhaai dena vaise aaj bhi dena chaho toh de sakte ho. #BadhaaiDoInCinemas Can’t keep it a secret anymore, Badhaai Do trailer out Tomorrow,” Rajkummar wrote. The movie is directed by Harshavardhan Kulkarni, is one of the most eagerly awaited family entertainers releasing this year in cinemas. Directed by Harshvardhan Kulkarni, ‘Badhaai Do’ is a sequel to the National Award-winning film ‘Badhaai Ho’, which chronicled the story of a middle-aged couple, played by Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao, facing an unexpected pregnancy. The trailer of the upcoming film will be out on Tuesday.

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DISHA PATANI GROOVES TO‘YEH KAALI KAALI ANKHEIN’ SONG

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MUMBAI : Actor Disha Patani seems to be enthralled by Netflix’s latest offering ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’. On Saturday, Disha took to Instagram and shared a video of her grooving to the show’s title track.

For the unversed, the Netflix series has derived its title from Shah Rukh Khan’s hit song ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’ from the film ‘Baazigar’. With her video, Disha has started #YKKAGroove Instagram Reels Challenge.

Talking about the same, Disha said, “I’m a fan of 90s thrillers – the pulp, the catchy music, the drama and the action – they are complete entertainers that keep you hooked. Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein takes inspiration from these! When I heard that Netflix is also coming out with a new rendition of the iconic song, I was super thrilled to listen to it. It was a lot of fun performing this reimagined version! We are all very excited to kickstart the #YKKAGroove Instagram Reels Challenge and I cannot wait to see what the fans are going to do with the challenge to make it their own!” ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’ features Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi, and Anchal Singh in the lead roles.

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VICKY KAUSHAL, SARA WRAP UP LAXMAN UTEKAR’S UNTITLED FILM

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NEW DELHI : Months after working for filmmaker Laxman Utekar’s untitled film, actors Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan have wrapped the shooting in Indore.

Actor Sharib Hashmi, who is playing a pivotal role in the movie, took to his Instagram handle and shared two pictures from the wrap party on the film set. The post that was shared on Saturday night features the whole cast and crew of the yet to be titled film.

Sharing the pictures, Hashmi wrote a heartfelt note that read, “Made beautiful memories on the sets of this beautiful (yet untitled) film with a dream team. Produced by the awesommme @maddockfilms @pvijan”

The ‘Filmistaan’ actor also praised Utekar, Sara and Vicky in the caption. “Director Saaab @laxman.utekar sirrr matlab aapne dil jeet liya ekdum ich @raghav_dop mere bhaii you’re a sweetheart [?] @vickykaushal09 ab main aur bvada wala fan ho gaya hoon yaarrr tumhara @saraalikhan95 aap staron jaisa behave .. kyun nahin karti yaarr. you’re such a sweetheart really,” Hashmi wrote.

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SHAH RUKH SENDS HANDWRITTEN NOTE TO ‘GOOD SOUL’ EGYPTIAN FAN

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UMBAI : Shah Rukh Khan has once again proved that he’s the king of hearts by his touching gesture of sending an autographed picture and handwritten note for an Egyptian travel agent fan.

On December 31, 2021, a Twitter user, Ashwini Deshpande, had shared that an Egyptian travel agent trusted her during a money transfer issue because she is from the country of Shah Rukh Khan. She tweeted, “Needed to transfer money to a travel agent in Egypt. Was having problems with the transfer. He said: you are from the country of @iamsrk. I trust you. I will make the booking, you pay me later. For anywhere else, I wouldn’t do this. But anything for @iamsrk. & he did!”

The tweet went viral and after meeting SRK’s fan, Deshpande requested Red Chillies Entertainment for an autographed photo of SRK for the Egyptian fan’s daughter.

She tweeted, “My husband & I finally met the man in this story today! I told him about the tsunami of good cheer his story generated. @RedChilliesEnt: he would be delighted with a photo of @iamsrk, autographed in his daughter’s name if possible. Please DM me if this can be arranged, thanks!” Their wish was fulfilled, as on Saturday, Deshpande updated that they have received three signed pictures of SRK along with a personalised message. She shared, “A very happy ending to this story. 3 photos signed by SRK arrived today, one with the nicest message for the Egyptian travel agent, one for his daughter & one for mine @Ketaki_Varma. Thanks @pooja_dadlani for getting in touch & of course to @iamsrk for the gracious gesture.”

In the handwritten note for his fan from Egypt, Shah Rukh wrote, “Thank you for being kind to my fellow Indian. Very gracious and generous of you. May your kind of good souls multiply.” 

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