By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 22, 2020

Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Essence: In the final episode, after the tables have been turned, a sinister plot is being unravelled. Your heart skips a beat. You are now completely hooked and want to know what happens next.

For that, Voot will have to plan Season II!

Web Series have been in India for around three years I guess, but it is Neha Sharma who has got me hooked on Voot. What a tremendous show Season 1 of Illegal has turned out to be. It’s clean, neat and crisp, with a racy plot that keeps you engaged through all 10 episodes.

Illegal Web Series Review: A Neha Sharma special…

After being baited in for the first episode for free (which I viewed out of curiosity), I was captivated with the opening lines by Neha and the subsequent plot and performance by her. Neha plays the pivotal role of Niharika Singh, a feisty, Mad Lawyer. As I clicked for the second episode, Voot wanted me to pay, I did not want to. At the same time, I wanted to see how the plot panned out and also the consistency of Neha as an actress. Voot got me to dig out my Credit Card and subscribe for a year. I’m glad I did because Illegal does not disappoint and now I’m all eager for Season II.

Illegal Web Series Review
Illegal Web Series Review: Neha Sharma and Satyadeep Mishra in a still from Illegal.

For me, Illegal is Neha Sharma and Neha Shama is Illegal… and Voot! Seldom has a female protagonist got the viewers hooked onto a plot so handsomely. There are no histrionics nor show of skin, or even diving for a kiss where none exists! This is pure talent entertaining the connoisseur. First, her voice draws you in (a well-rounded, warm tone). Then, she hooks you with her performance. What’s impressive about Neha is that even before a scene is enacted, her expressive eyes and face which portrays a sea of emotions lets you into her zone, of what she is actually going through as Niharika.

Lawyer hoon and truth be told, right aur wrong mein thoda si confused hoon. Joh galat hai, woh apne sahi hone ka sabut kharid lete hai and jo sahi hai, unhe galat ke sahare ki zaroorat padti hai.

The ones who claim to be legal are the ones who are actually illegal.

Illegal Web Series Review: Welcome to the world of Illegal…

Caught in the bad world of Illegal, Niharika holds her own as she gets a job in the biggest law firm in New Delhi, Janardhan Jaitley & Associates. Headed by Jaitley (Piyush Mishra) a wily legal eagle, Niharika soon finds out that if she has to survive among the sharks, she has to swim like one. She needs to think one step as she goes about defending her clients.

The plot, penned beautifully by Reshu Nath captures the brutality of the Legal world, and has enough twists within the premise itself. It is aided by sharp camera work and slick direction by Sahir Raza. Editing too, needs special mention.

Originally from Bangalore, Niharika comes to Delhi in search of work, leaving her mother behind, after she takes a hot-shot lawyer, Sameer Adhikari (Mohan Kapoor) head-on in public domain. This gives her the sobriquet ‘Mad Lawyer’. Her reputation precedes her and JJ & Associates are eager to get her on board.

Illegal Web Series Review: The characters unveiled…

All through episode 7 you see a boy behind lawyer Punit Tandon (Satyadeep Mishra) who once was Jaitley’s blue-eyed boy, but is now on the other side of the fence. In episode 7 that boy is revealed as Onir, a character straight out of the box. You then understand what he has been doing in court all along with Punit.

Rohini (Kitu Gidwani) Jaitley’s wife appears paranoid. There is more to her paranoia than what actually appears to be. Niharika has been given the Meher Salam case. Meher (who has killed her entire family) has received the death sentence but for 15 years has been languishing in jail. Another case of Neeraj Sekhawat (Ankit Gupta), accused of rape, is refused by Niharika initially. Neeraj is Akshay Jaitley’s (Akshay Oberoi) good friend and business partner, while Akshay happens to be Niharika’s friend from the past.

Believe me, there’s plenty by way of plot once you get on Illegal.

Illegal Web Series Review: The performances…

Illegal Web Series Review
Illegal Web Series Review: Naresh Gosian as the Sessions Court Judge is spot on.

Apart from Neha Sharma, there are other brilliant performances that make for wonderful viewing. Satyadeep Mishra is profound in his performance, in every scene. His body language and hurt of the past, which he depicts so effortlessly, is fabulous. Kubra Sait as Meher the prisoner is impressive. Parul Gulati who plays Devika, Akshay’s wife wows with her performance as the woman on the sidelines who is trying to make headway into her dead marriage. She’s earnest and gives it her all to make it stand out. Rishabh Chaddha as Onir too draws you to his character with his honesty and effortless performance. Naresh Gosian as the Sessions Court Judge is spot on. He reminds you of Saurab Shukhla from Jolly LLB.

Akshay Oberoi is one-dimensional; there’s lack of purpose in his performance. Ditto Piyush Mishra who has a pivotal role himself. Mishra fails to impress in a tailor-made role for any villain to sink his teeth into. Methinks, Mohan Kapoor who came for a fleeting few minutes in the first episode would have been the ideal fit for Jaitley’s role.

In the final episode, after the tables have been turned, a sinister plot is being unravelled. Your heart skips a beat. You are now completely hooked and want to know what happens next.

For that, Voot will have to plan Season II!

Lie has become way more powerful than the truth; aaj ki duniya mein bichara sach bada kamjoor pad gaya hai. saboot ke bina khokla!

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