We all know that the Indian judiciary system is flawed and sometimes, even questionable and broken. Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors will nosedive into those flaws and take you on a roller coaster ride that twists and turns through the cells of the jail and comes right out in the court room, where most of the action takes place.
Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors begins with this valiant and uber-cool lawyer Bikram Chandra (Jisshu Sengupta), a bleeding heart liberal lawyer with long influential speeches that he gives in the courtroom. He has a beautiful wife, Anuradha Chandra (Kirti Kulhari) and a smart 12-year-old daughter, Rhea Chandra, who likes solving crosswords. Things spiral down south when Anu Chandra stabs Bikram. That’s when the actual story begins. But not every that we see is true… or is it?
Then, enters Madhav Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi), the smart and quirky lawyer, who is roped in to defend Anu Chandra. Cut to him in Mumbai with lawyer Nikhat Hussain (Anupria Goenka) who is shown to be struggling to find work initially, but later gets involved in Anu Chandra’s case quite deeply.
The show is slow-paced and, to some extent, even mundane and boring. But you need to be patient, which is the key to the show or else you are bound to miss out on details crucial to the case and subsequently the show.
The show also takes you through what one could possibly imagine can happen in a jail. Crammed jail cells, overflowing dirty toilets, rowdy and ruthless inmates and an environment hard for anyone to adjust in. That way it’s hard to image what Anu Chandra, who comes from a respected upper class family, might have faced in her initial days in judicial custody.
There’s also something about Anu Chandra in Criminal Justice 2 that would exasperate the viewer. When questioned by the police and the lawyers, she barely opens up initially. One could say that it was out of shock and trauma, as Madhav Mishra initially assumed. But when she finally does speak up, she gives incoherent and incomplete information to her lawyers Nikhat and Madhav. It finally gets to the point that the viewer would question whether she wanted justice for herself or not.
I, as a viewer, would admit that at a certain point near the end, the questions asked to Anu Chandra would’ve intimidated anyone as they dealt with what she happened with her and Bikram Chandra ‘behind closed doors’. But I would also say that the director should’ve worked on Anu’s and her lawyer’s interpersonal communication which could’ve also bettered the pacing of the show.
There was one character who stood out even amidst the tension of the case in Criminal Justice 2. That was Madhav’s wife Ratna who came from Patna. She seems quite feisty and gutsy to me. Travelling to be with her husband all the way from Bharatpura, Ratna is bound to make you chuckle, if not laugh out loud, with her down market-ness. But as she stays in Mumbai with Madhav, her mind broadens up and she also shows the will to learn the ways of the city.
All in all, if you’re someone who likes watching crime, drama and court cases with some mixed vibes of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, then Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors is just the right one for you.
Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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