Shefali Bhushan and Jayant Digambar Somalkar
Shriya Pilgaonkar, Varun Mitra, Namrata Sheth, Pranay Pachauri, Sugandha Garg, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Satish Kaushik, Virendra Saxena, Shakti Kapoor, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, Karishma Tanna
What’s It About
The legal drama 'Guilty Minds' revolves around two lawyers. Kashaf Quaze (Shriya Pilgaonkar) and Deepak Rana (Varun Mitra), law school friends who are nearly but never quite lovers, generally find themselves on opposing sides of the law. Quaze, ever the idealist, focuses on issues for the ordinary man, whilst the ambitious Rana works as a lawyer at a renowned law firm defending the powerful. The intertwining of their cases and personal lives pulls the story onward. Then there is Shubhangi Khanna (Namrata Sheth), the heir of the law business where Rana works, and her cousin Subhrat Khanna (Pranay Pachauri), who wants the people from 'outside' out of his 'family firm.' Vandana (Sugandha Garg), Quaze's trusty collaborator, is also on her side always. Who will win the final battle between Quaze and Rana? Will the two end up breaking up because of their professional rivalry? Or will they be able to keep the personal relationship away from the professional differences? Well, you’ll have to watch the show to find out.
The best part about ‘Guilty Minds’ is the writing by Manav Bhushan, Shefali Bhushan, Deeksha Gujral and Jayant Digambar Somalkar. They have cumulatively brought together a genuineness to the court proceedings, and as a viewer, you feel like you’re watching the real deal and not the heightened and emotionally charged version of a courtroom drama which we usually get to see in Bollywood movies. The realism is praiseworthy. Another good thing is the choices of topics that the writers have picked up to showcase on screen. There is a wide range of topics which we always hear in newspapers or even in Bollywood movies but we just brush through them from the outside. However, here these topics have been taken up, which may not be too political or life-altering, but are the real-world problems. That definitely demands applause.
Shriya Pilgaonkar and Varun Mitra are good til they’re in their lawyer suits and fighting it out with each other. Not only do you see the conviction in their eyes, but you end up believing and living the story in between their pauses.
Shefali Bhushan’s direction is one of the rare occasions when a relative newcomer managed to not make the end product look amateurish. There is a great sense of the story and how it can be sequenced. There is hardly any scene in ‘Guilty Minds’ where you feel ‘What’s the relevance of this to the basic plot of the story?’ Jayant Digambar Somalkar has given in an able hand in the direction. The two together have ensured that there are barely any continuity errors in the flow of the story and its presentation.
Chitrangada Satarupa delivers a monologue about the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ communities. It’s not made unnecessarily melodramatic as we have usually seen in movies like ‘Pyar Ka Punchnama’. Indeed a worthy scene to remember for life. Also, Sukitha Aiya, who plays the private detective gives a delectable performance. She brings life to the scene whenever she is onscreen. Among the rest of the supporting cast, Satish Kaushik does justice to his character. You will love the way how he turns from being jovial to totally menacing in a matter of seconds.
The romantic angle between Shriya Pilgaonkar and Varun Mitra is too drab. It’s slow, and emotionally uncharged, which makes it too boring to watch as a viewer. You’re just hoping that the scenes of their personal lives just get passed through so that you can watch the two fight it out in their uniforms.
The entire show rests on the courtroom battles of the two leads. Outside the courtroom, the various sequences with the other supporting characters are a bit too stereotypical. Somehow the realism that the courtroom scenes have vanishes the moment these two characters are out of the court. They behave childish and juvenile. At times the supporting cast in the storylines outside the court seems to be too melodramatic just in order to make the show look like the mundane Bollywood courtroom dramas.
Sagar Desai’s music could have been better. Like there is hardly anything that felt original in the background score, and that, at times, couldn’t give the necessary depth to the emotional scenes.
The cinematography by Siddharth Srinivasan could have been way better. A lot of the scenes are in the confines of the courtroom, and it won’t be wrong to say that the constraints were there. But, even in a one-room shot, the presentation could have been quite different, which would have catapulted the show to the topmost of the popularity charts.
Navnita Sen’s editing could have been crisper. It could have easily just kept the show entirely on the courtroom and just given a few glimpses of the backstories and other happenings in a flashback. Sadly, it didn’t happen and you’re compelled to sit through some boring emotional sequences with no juice in them at all.
‘Guilty Minds’ is a rare courtroom drama that allows scope for realism in the story. It’s brilliantly written and executed. But sadly, the show isn’t entirely about what’s happening in the court and also delves into stories outside the court and in the personal relationship space. And trust me, those are the scenes where you just want to fast forward without pausing at all. Had those scenes been cut a bit shorter, ‘Guilty Minds’ had the potential to become the best show of the year. It is indeed a One Time Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.