Illegal Review: Piyush Mishra's and Neha Sharma's legal drama takes audience to the courtrooms and behind-the-door manoeuvrings

Show: Illegal

OTT: Voot Select

Starcast: Piyush Mishra, Neha Sharma, Akshay Oberoi, Satyadeep Mishra and Kubbra Sait

Director: Sahir Raza


What makes for a gripping courtroom drama? Twists and turns? Injustices revealed? Corrupt legal system practices? VOOT Select's new web series Illegal is an attempt to take the audience to the courtrooms and behind-the-door manoeuvrings. Illegal, earlier titled as Law and Honor, depicts the two sides of lawmakers and law. On one side, there are honest lawyers who are ready to put their lives at stake in their battle for justice and reinstate belief in humanity. And on the other side, there are lawyers who are nothing more than mercenaries, appointed to just win the case even if it means to twist the arm of law & order.

The show opens with Janardhan Jaitley aka JJ (Piyush Mishra), owner of a reputed law firm in Delhi. He hires a bright lawyer from Bangalore, Niharika Singh (Neha Sharma) as a senior advocate at his firm. Niharika is often addressed 'The Mad Lawyer' as she managed to oust a sexual predator at her previous film, beating all the ods and proving him guilty. JJ chooses Niharika to headline the infamous 'Meher Salam' case. A pro bono case on the issue of capital punishment has Kubbra Sait as the main accused, facing trial under the charges of a quadruple murder. As Niharika is trying a way to find a way out for her client, she lands in an unusual spot - to defend a rape victim - her stepbrother! Unwillingly, Niharika takes up the Neeraj Shekhawat's because of Akshay Jaitely (Akshay Oberoi) JJ's son, with whom she was romantically involved in the past. No sooner Niharika realizes that she has been dragged into murky waters - JJ's malicious motives towards the pro bono case and how she has been subjected to his dirty politics, inside and outside the courtroom.

Here, the show falls prey to its own plot - there are too many subplots in one story to offer a taut courtroom-drama experience to the viewers - Niharika's relationship, a rapist who is deemed capable of winning the case in the media as well as law courts and the pro bono case about a woman on a death row. Adding to her struggles are political agendas, media manipulation, and the hypothetical unprejudiced law supporting the privileged.

Talking about the performances, the show marks the debut of theatre and film veteran Piyush Mishra. As JJ, the principal antagonist who doesn’t set foot in court until the very end - is vile, shrewd, and delivers legal maxims with the right amount of vindictiveness. He is in top form. Akshay Oberoi and Kubbra Sait flesh out their parts with conviction. Satyadeep Mishra is sincere. But it's Neha Sharma's voiceover that sets the tone of Illegal. You see the struggle through her eyes, her wariness to believe the victim or accused. Alas, she also happens to be the weakest of the series. 

What could have been an intense courtroom thriller, director Sahir Raza's Illegal falls prey to its own web of haywire writing by Reshu Nath. While the 10-part Voot Select series holds the promise of a potential season 2, the legal drama backed by Vikram Bhatt as the creative producer needs to opt for tad bit less messy subplots.

A sincere attempt but a missed opportunity!

PeepingMoon gives Illegal 3 Moons