"Criminal Justice" Review: Vikrant Massey, Pankaj Tripathi And Jackie Shroff To Shoulder A Hotstar Precise Remake

Priyansh Ha |Apr 12, 2019

Criminal Justice's success relies on its actors to do the heavy lifting. Fortunately, Vikrant Massey, Pankaj Tripathi and especially Jackie Shroff work out their jobs.

Criminal Justice

Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Cast: Vikrant Massey, Jackie Shroff, Pankaj Tripathi
Rating: 3.5/5

It’s can be seen that Hotstar no longer put the phrase ‘Hotstar Originals’ next to its films anymore. In facts, Criminal Justice - the second show of the streaming service which has just been on air is just a remake of a remake. Adapting the American series The Night Of which is the remake of UK Criminal Justice, the movie has many things in common with murder mysteries we’ve been acquainted with. Anyway, it’s still entertaining to watch.  

Criminal Justice
Source: Twitter

The first three episodes of the series were available, and this review actually discusses these episodes only. With a solid start, hopefully, it will not derail in the following chapters when the story develops into a convoluted plot with winding twits.

Watch the Criminal Justice trailer here:

It Falls Behind The Originals

As a remake, Criminal Justice falls behind its original version. But once we put it aside, the movie is quite impressive in its way. It’s a smart move of the Tigmanshu Dhulia to retain what worked without wasting efforts for irrelevant detail.

Without being too fussy and picky, Tigmanshu Dhulia repeatedly recaptures frames of the original show, both thematically and visually. You will find Vikrant Massey’s Aditya with similar manners of Riz Ahmed’s Naz from The Night Of. Of course, we can spot out many differences in detail between a Pakistani family immigrating to New York and an Indian family living in Mumbai. The show, however, shares the same spirit with The Night Of by focusing on universal themes: bureaucracy, corruption, and class.

No one knows if Jackie Shroff is actually 'acting' or not as it was high performance.

I’m not even sure if Jackie Shroff is actually ‘acting’ or not. The way words like ‘darling’ or ‘bhidu’ smoothly slip out his tongue is just like he frequently use them in real life.

Just like Michael K Williams’ in The Night Of, Pankaj Tripathi successfully kept the balance between the threat and reassurance in his part. The actor is the comic relief of the show which shows up with goofy background music. Anyway, nothing can get in his way of a nuanced performance.

Misra is the most excellent example of the show’s attempt in terms of cultural translation. Unlike out thematics characters, Misra and her amoral chicanery seem to be rooted from things you might have seen in the courtroom.

>>> Check this: Criminal Justice Web Series Free Download

Pankaj Tripathi’s performance is as genius as always in Criminal Justice.

The Trio Lead Roles Has Saved The Show

The Night Of has a strong political theme which takedown the American legal system as well as criticize post 9/11 racism. Criminal Justice, however, doesn’t seem to put all its efforts on the reality of class in India nor the appalling lawlessness inside our prison.

Instead, the show (actually its first three episodes) heavily focuses on the actors. While its UK original and The Night Of have a lot of concerns from a grander scope, bigger budgets to the reputable stamps of HBO and BBC, what makes audience attached to Criminal Justice is mostly its leading stars.

It’s hard to believe that behind this angelic face of Vikrant Massey is a murderous psychopath.

With an angelic face, it’s hard to believe that Vikrant Massey takes the role of a murderous psychopath in the show, but it’s not another story of Jekyll and Hyde. Instead, it sets in the same theme of A Death in the Gunj, the debut film of director Konkona Sen Sharma, in which the story is also told through the view of Massey’s character.

It’s too soon to criticize Criminal Justice for its precise narration. The adaptation process will take a long way, and we are only at the start line. At least, we now have official remakes instead of imprudently lifting materials.

>>> Criminal Justice is listed in Best Indian Web Series To Watch. Check other series in the post!


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