For most of us, the only exposure to courts is through films. And usually, films with court scenes are lumped under the genre of “Court room dramas”. Essentially because of the high drama that unfolds in the court scenes. Arguments and counter arguments, suspense around sudden appearances of key witnesses, witnesses going hostile at the last minute, “Objection sustained/Objection overruled” kind dialogues and always an arrogant and ever smirking lawyer pitted against the protagonist are all part of this Courtroom drama template. But are cases always argued like this in real courts? And what kind of drama happens in real life cases actually? Guilty Minds, a web series that is now streaming on Amazon Prime provides an answer to these questions and more.
Every episode of Guilty Minds and there are ten episodes in this season, are shown as ten different cases being argued in different courts in India. While couple of the cases are of the regular murder variety, some are really interesting. Like the case slapped on a company that manufacturers driverless cars when one of their cars get involved in an accident or the plagiarism case on a guy who develops a music composing app or for that matter even a case involving a dating app. The interesting thing in these cases is it is difficult to choose sides as they vacillate between right and wrong. It also speaks of the homework, the writers have done to not present a one-sided argument on these cases. Actually, this should not come as a surprise to us, as the creator of this series is Shefali Bhushan, who herself comes from a family of famous lawyers. Along side the cases, there is also a parallel track of the personal lives of the key characters which in terms of screen play is structured well. All in all, I can say that the whole series is anchored by its very strong writing.
While there is a plethora of lawyers on display in the different episodes, the series is centred around two camps – One, a famous law firm with a family of lawyers spanning three generations with an outsider thrown in who is the male protagonist Deepak Rana, a flamboyant, ambitious and street-smart lawyer played by Varun Mitra. Second a small group of idealistic lawyers who take up cases for the underdogs while fighting the system headed by the female protagonist Kashaf Quaze played by the very talented Shriya Pilgaonkar. Both the leads are brilliant and bring life to the proceedings with their convincing portrayal on and off the courts. Shriya pulls off her role of a woman who is brave on the outside while battling her inner demons, with elan. Kulbhushan Kharbanda plays the role of the patriarch and senior lawyer and reminded me of Late Ram Jethmalani. One of the episode also features an “Off the court settlement” and we get to see how these play out in real life.
Directors Shefali Bhushan, Jayant Digambar and Somalkar do a good job in keeping the proceedings real and consistent throughout. The only unreal part and that’s the best thing to happen is that the cases move pretty fast and are closed timely unlike in real life! In the series, it is not the case that the protagonists win the case all the time or get a judgement fully in their favour, thereby keeping the happenings real and the characters human.
Guilty Minds now streaming on Amazon Prime, is a very good watch, and the best part is, you can watch the episodes in your pace when you have the time. I strongly recommend it. The open ends leading to the next season is inviting.