Web Review: Illegal 2: When Law and Justice Clash

Neha Sharma and Piyush Mishra have intense face-offs in Illegal 2. Photo: Avian WE

When any Season 2 is as good, or better than Season 1 of a web series, it is something to celebrate. Illegal 2 scores over its first season thanks to its omnipresent and relentless undercurrent of menace as well as revenge. Of course, as the title suggests, the show subtly presents the illegal side of law and justice! Law, here is not equal to, or even compatible with, justice or truth.

The relatively new counsel, Niharika (Neha Sharma, now truly immersed in her role) has earned the unending hate of her ex-mentor, Janardhan Jaitley (Piyush Mishra), an amoral top counsel and head of Jaitley & Associates, by turning against him in Season 1. Janardhan is now an ambitious politician as well, intending to be Delhi’s CM by unseating the existing one (Achint Kaur).  Janardhan wants to target Niharika, who has now begun her own law firm with Puneet (Satyadeep Misra), another ex-employee of Jaitley who has quit over principles. Venomous, vicious and vindictive at all times, he is truly someone to despise.

Janardhan tries everything to make Niharika’s personal and professional life miserable, mainly through his henchman Randeep (Vicky Arora).He has no qualms whatsoever about physically harming Niharika and even Puneet’s wife and also making their new firm suffer. The bar council has already left Niharika with a warning about her code of conduct (thanks to him!), but the steely determination of the girl despite all the odds makes her Janardhan’s truly worthy “antagonist”.

They are other angles as well. Neeraj Shekhawat (Ankit Gupta), the man who Niharika sent to jail, who is also her half-brother, also wants to kill her. Akshay (Akshay Oberoi), Janardhan’s son, is an ex-flame of Niharika, and is reluctantly fond of her, but she hates him and holds him responsible for his father’s misdeeds as well. Akshay too has a traumatic relationship with wife Devika (Parul Gulati), who Janardhan hires into his firm for his own advantage, a move resented by his son. Niharika and the enterprising businessman Raghav (Tanuj Virwani) are in love, and their professional lives intertwine. A key potentially huge business partner for Jaitley & Associates is Devika’s old friend (Sonalli Seygall). And Niharika’s flat-mate Sue (Kriti Vij) is Puneet’s girl.

A potential scam, an absconding businessman, a juvenile offender, political shenanigans within Janardhan’s party that are largely engineered by him, and repeated face-offs between Niharika and him, in and out of court, a whistleblower, and some incriminating evidence of Janardhan’s involvement in an old, hidden crime—the script cleverly uses every possible device and move to keep the viewer engrossed from first episode to the last (eighth). And obviously, in a seemingly foolproof plot heading towards a villain getting his just desserts comes a twist that becomes the portent of the game continuing in a future Season 3.

Ashwini Chaudhary’s direction is assured, and the new writers (Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande, Advaita Kala and Aparna Nadig) score high. All four maintain the perfect balance between the previous season (which had no connection with them) and the new, and Nadig’s lines are the highlight. Technically, the series is polished, and Santhosh Thundiyil’s camerawork and Soutrik Chakraborty‘s and Shezan Shaikh’s background score fits in. Salim-Sulaiman’s title music is effective.

As mentioned earlier, Neha Sharma has proved that she has immensely grown as an actor. She has got deeper into Niharika and exudes a natural mix of determination and despair as per the flow of the story. Piyush Mishra must now be among the best of the subtler villains on the web. Akshay Oberoi is excellent in his layered role, while Tanuj Virwani is casual, as per the needs of the character. Making a better impress than before is Parul Gulati as Devika. The rest are good too, but for a hamming Atul Tiwari as the party president.

Rating: ***.5

Voot Select presents Juggernaut Productions’ Illegal 2 Directed by: Ashwini Chaudhary Creative Producer:Samar Khan Written by: Abhijeet Shirish Deshpande, Advaita Kala & Aparna Nadig  Music: Soutrik Chakraborty & Shezan Shaikh Starring:Neha Sharma, Piyush Mishra, Akshay Oberoi, Tanuj Virwani, Parul Gulati, Kriti Vij, Vicky Arora, Ankit Gupta, Achint Kaur, Sheeba Chadha, Sonalli Seygall, Atul Tiwari & others



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