Manoj Bajpayee joins the league of on-screen lawyers like Pankaj Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar & more

Manoj Bajpayee joins the league of on-screen lawyers like Pankaj Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar & more
Source: IANS
  • Manoj Bajpayee plays a lawyer from Jodhpur who fights a controversial rape case under the POSCO Act in Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai.

  • Pankaj Tripathi plays Madhav Mishra, an affable-yet-brilliant lawyer who fights for the underdog.

  • Guilty Minds starring Shriya Pilgaonkar brought Indian law firm politics to the fore.
After becoming India’s favourite Family Man, veteran actor Manoj Bajpayee has regaled OTT audiences with a stellar performance as a lawyer-with-grit in the latest movie Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, streaming on Zee5.

The movie is based on the rape of an underage girl by a self-styled godman. The victim in the movie is denied justice as bribes, threats and more make it tough for the teenager to get justice, until Bajpayee’s character Solanki enters the scene. The lawyer from Jodhpur fights off a battery of great legal minds to navigate a controversial case under the POSCO Act.

"It is an eye opener that way and our focus is mostly on the security and safety and protection of the child, which is an issue which is very close to my heart - always been," Bajpayee said about the movie in an interview.

Affable lawyers with twisted minds

Solanki’s character, based on a real-life model, brings forth the struggles of the legal system in India. But it’s not the only one, especially on OTT. Yet another celebrated actor, Pankaj Tripathi plays Madhav Mishra, an affable-yet-brilliant lawyer from Mumbai who investigates his cases closely in Criminal Justice on Hotstar.

The genius underdog also takes up controversial cases like defending a drug-addict teenager accused of murdering his sister, a woman who murdered her husband, and also a cab driver accused of rape and murder of his client —- across three seasons.

Tripathi says that his character is based on aam aadmi, who mixes humour with common sense. “His behaviour, mannerisms, sense of timing and body language all make him easy to understand and relate to. This is why viewers connect with him so much,” he said in an interview.

Amazon Prime also brought Indian law firm politics to the fore, with Guilty Minds starring Shriya Pilgaonkar. Like most American series, it takes us through a variety of cases on dating apps to cola giants — navigated by lawyers with twisted agendas and sharp comebacks.

Legal dramas keep it real

While the US has many legal dramas to boast be it the super-hit Suits, Boston Legal or The Good Wife and its spinoff, Indian screens have been a late entrant into this genre in spite of a brilliant start in the 80s with Ek Ruka Hua Faisla. The movie starring Pankaj Kapoor brings the story of the now-abandoned jury system in India, as they discuss the depths of a case where a young teen from a slum stabs his father.

Later, in addition to a few movies with courtroom scenes, few full fledged legal movies made their mark, with a few exceptions like Sunny Deol’s strongman cum lawyer in Damini.

Arshad Warsi and Akshay Kumar both played the titular roles in Jolly LLB series — as not-so-clean lawyers who had their hearts at the right place. Kumar however headlined another movie Rustom which is based on the highly publicized K M Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra court case from the 50s. The case also inspired another web series named 'The Verdict – State vs Nanavati’ on AltBalaji.

In fact, most legal dramas in India have mimicked real life like No One Killed Jessica, starring Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee. Tamil film Jai Bhim which stars Surya also mimics the real life activist and lawyer Justice K Chandru who had worked for the downtrodden.

India with its history of delayed yet sensational court cases offers a lot of fodder for fiction, and OTT which is unafraid of diving into the realm of controversy is now bringing a lot of it to screens.

(With inputs from IANS)


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