Few reasons why I had high hopes from Hotstar Specials web series, Criminal Justice –
i) It is an adaptation of BBC series, ‘Criminal Justice’
ii) It is a murder mystery
iii) Its star cast: Vikrant Massey, Pankaj Tripathi, and Jackie Shroff
I would not call the show disappointing but yes, not many people would start the show and watch it till the end. If not for The Digital Popcorn, I wouldn’t have. The story moves at a slower pace, much slower than viewers would like it to. The makers could have told the story in 5 episodes instead of 10. Other than its pace, what further disappointed me is that the story did not revolve around the murder mystery. It revolved around the protagonist’s life in jail, or should I say, ‘the life in jail,’ in general. It was more about the politics and the businesses the criminals run inside the jail than about decoding the murder mystery. The jail story is also not new. You have either heard, seen, or read these stories somewhere in your life before. So, there is no element of surprise or shock as the episodes shed light on what happens behind the closed doors of the prison.
Coming to the actors, everyone has done a fabulous job. Vikrant Massey’s transformation from an innocent boy to almost a criminal was convincing (at times, frightening as well). You feel his frustration and pain. You wouldn’t ask him why has he given up and is trying to fit in at a place he does not belong to, but yes, in the end, you would want to stop him from turning into a criminal, just like Mustafa does.
Madhav Mishra would not have been as convincing as he was if the character would not have been played by Pankaj Tripathi. His face has that ‘humanity touch’ that makes you believe that this person would do anything free of cost just for humanity’s sake. He is a treat to watch.
I would like to give a special mention to Rucha Inamdar for convincingly playing the character of Vikrant Massey’s sister, Avni Sharma. The way her character transformed from happy to gloomy was amazing. She is every woman who stands by the man in her life (only if she is convinced that is ‘not guilty’). The way she portrayed the character that is breaking down herself but is still standing by her brother, giving him strength from time to time, is really praiseworthy. Their bond is the bond every brother-sister would relate to.
In short, it could have been a gripping thriller if the makers would have given equal weightage to both the stories, the prison life as well as the murder mystery.
Also Read: Hotstar Specials: City Of Dreams Review
Where to Watch? Hotstar