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Your Honor (Sony LIV) Is Gripping From The Word Go

Your Honor (Sony  LIV, 12  Episodes)

Starring  Jimmy Sheirgill,  Varun Badola, Mita Vashisht

Directed by E Niwas

Rating:****(4 stars)

That’s what two brilliant actors can do to you.Every time  Jimmy Sheirgill  and  Mita Vashisht are on screen together,  you want to  see just where their  conversation is going. The words they speak seductively  encircle their cat-and-mouse game in this  energetic engrossing and altogether  gripping  tale of empowerment privilege and their misuse.

Set in  the rugged  unkempt heartland where the  privileged can   get away with murder, literally, and adapted from  the   Israeli mini- series  Kvodo,  Your Honor features  the ever-dependable Sheirgill as Bishan  Khosla,  a High Court  judge  who just weeks before his  promotion encounters  an unexpected  snag: his  18-year old son is involved in a  hit-and run  which could finish off the Judge’s career. The Judge takes  the  help of a Bihari  friend to ‘fix’  the situation . But before we can say Bishan  Accomplished, there is hell to pay.

The story,  though not  novel or unique  in  its  age-old  conflict   between duty  and family, derives its  renewed  vigour from  the principal performances , and  from director E Niwas’s propensity to use the unlimited digital space judiciously, slicing through the tension with cuts and  leaps in the narrative that  are unforgiving in their  determination to hold our attention.

It helps the narrative  tremendously that the actors are seasoned  troupers who know where to draw the  line between  thrill  and shrill . The  dramatic tension is seldom over-punctuated, and we are involved  in the proceedings  to the  very end  without  the tale  ever meandering  too far from its principal plot.

Jimmy Sheirgill, though a tad  too young to   play a 50-plus judge pulls off the dilemma  of a helpless father  with  subtle shades  of  anguish and rage. He gets some splendid support  from Vashisht  of course, but also the neglected Varun Bandola who is reliably  in-character as Judge  Bishan  Khosla’s  friend and  protégé Kashi who must now  pay back favours in  illegal ways.

Sheirgill also  shares  an  interesting  love-hate relationship with his mother-in-law, played by Suhasini  Mulay who is shown to be constantly  smoking  for no  particular  reason except to show her unconventional  streak.  But it’s    Vashisht’s sly cop act that  furnishes a vinegary  flavour  to her  conversations with the  Judge  in the dock. Vashisht plays the  cop as a  mixture of  attentive  and disdainful . I just couldn’t take  my eyes of her stolen steely scornful  glances at  the guilty-as-sin  Judge.

What doesn’t work is the father-son relationship probably because we  don’t know where  the  callowness  of  the  son’s character ends, and  the  callowness of  the actor  playing the son begins. But it’s all for the best , as Sheirgill’s relationship with his son  is  meant to be  uneasy .

Though  I found some of  the off-and-on Bihari  accent a little distracting(and please there is  more to Bihari hospitality than Litti and Chokha) on the whole this gripping  story  of  a principled judge straying from the straight-and-narrow path  zigzags its way expertly through the  elaborate  labyrinth in  the original.Must watch.

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