Criminal Justice 3: Adhura Sach Review

Criminal Justice 3: Adhura Sach is watchable for Pankaj Tripathi’s brilliant portrayal of Madhav Mishra, observes Divya Nair.

After two successful seasons, Criminal Justice returns for a third installment, this time directed by Rohan Sippy.

The first episode opens with the investigation of popular television child actor Zara Ahuja (Deshna Dugad), who is reported missing by her parents.

The 14 year old’s life and career is managed by her stepmom, Avantika (Swastika Mukherjee) and father Neeraj (Purab Kohli).

When Zara’s dead body is recovered by fishermen the following day, all clues lead to Avantika’s son and Zara’s 17-year-old stepbrother Mukul (Aaditya Gupta).

Evidence and eye witnesses establish that Mukul met Zara at the party where she was drugged and was also spotted arguing with Zara hours before her death.

Although Avantika tries to reason that her son is recovering in rehab and incapable of committing a crime, Mukul’s history of violence and drug abuse, along with his deteriorating relationship with Zara work against him.

One mistake leads to another and the prosecution is able to build a strong, non-bailable chargesheet against Mukul, who pleads non-guilty and seeks a fair trial.

Post Zara’s death, Neeraj acknowledges that the family’s finances are sinking and he may not be able to help Mukul find a good lawyer.

When all doors close in on the Ahujas, Madhav Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi) takes on the task of defending Mukul, hoping to help the seemingly affluent family and make some good money.

He is pitted against public prosecutor Lekha Agastya (Shweta Basu Prasad), who is hell bent on trying Mukul as an adult and not a juvenile, so he can be punished for life, setting a precedent for the future.

Since this review is based on the first six episodes, it may be premature to comment if the series gets better later and is worth your time.

Unlike in the first two seasons where the lead characters, including the accused, were strong, convincing and interesting to watch, Season 3 isn’t half as sensational but manages to drag on because you want to know what really happened.

Good actors like Purab, Swastika and Gaurav Gera are not able to keep you invested in their characters or story, and it is left to Pankaj Tripathi alone to cut through the mundane tone of narration and engage you in the legal drama with new twists and perspectives.

Even for a disjointed family, there was more chemistry between the characters in The Fame Game than you’d see in this one.

The good news is that Pankaj’s character has evolved a lot from the first season, where he was an amateur lawyer learning the ropes of justice.

In season 3, he is foresighted, more confident and knows when to strike.

Despite his track record of winning landmark cases, Madhav Mishra is aware that luck is not always on his side, so he retains his humility, quirkiness and humour, often spicing things up both in and out of the courtroom.

In one incident where the teen casually says ‘everyone takes it (drugs)’, Madhav Mishra reacts to his assistant: ‘Drugs chai pani ho gaya hai, everyone takes it.’

Is he upset? Worried? Judgmental?

Madhav Mishra keeps us guessing. And that’s the beauty of his character.

In two seasons, he has absorbed so much about the way society, law and the media functions, he keeps sharing nuggets of wisdom that will stay with you. Like when he explains to Mukul: &’Nyay badlana hi hota. Adalat nyay deti hai, public chahti hai badla‘ the aam viewer, who is aware of the purpose and consequences of media trials, will only nod his head in agreement.

Similarly, his interactions with his new bride who turns their humble home into a beauty salon, reveals another interesting and endearing side to him.

Shweta Basu Prasad does a stellar job as the biased public prosecutor with no mercy for the accused.

She may not be fierce as Mita Vashisht, but is smart enough to not be dismissed as just another newbie trying to win her first big case.

However, as one of the lead actors in the show, Aaditya gets monotonous with his expressions and emotions.

He makes no effort to present the layers of his character, which is why you don’t feel sorry for him when he is reprimanded, misunderstood or sent to custody.

Overall, Season 3 is watchable purely for Pankaj Tripathi’s brilliant portrayal of Madhav Mishra, who will leave no stone unturned to bring out the truth, irrespective of the cost he has to pay for it.

Criminal Justice: Adhura Sach streams on Disney+Hotstar

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