“Mamla Legal Hai Tries Too hard To Be Funny” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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Our Rating

Mamla Legal Hai

Like all other governmental institutions, there is a rot at the heart of our legal system which makes it impossible for the poor and underprivileged to get justice. The loud banal jokey tone of a legal series like Mamla Legal Hai (Netflix) hardly helps to set right the aberrations in our judiciary.

More trite than right, the series is loud and self-defeatingly exaggerated in tone. Every character is busy trying to out-shout others. This seems more like a wrestling match in a rowdy akhada than a legal serial set in a courtroom.

The actors are almost uniformly bucolic in their disposition, as though they have been mass instructed to indulge in loud lumpenish behaviour. Some of the acting is so broad, it feels like a streetside play celebrating the anomalies in our judiciary.

On the roadside broadside level too, the series fails to deliver, as it adheres too closely to the rudimentary rules of plot construction. Forget nuances , the screenplay (Kunal Aneja, Saurabh Khanna) is a celebration of loutish humour: lawyers on strike playing cricket in their chambers… a frighteningly vacuous litigant filing a case against his new wife for not acting shy on their suhaag raat…. This are some of the supposedly satirical situations created in the plot.

If there a sickness at the core of our judicial system, then this series is not far behind. In one notably distasteful episode, poor Tanve Azmi playing a sessions judge has to listen to lawyer Ravi Kishan offer her various synonyms for excreta. Kishan of course comes from a background in Bhojpuri cinema where he has mouthed much worse. But does an actor of Tanve Azmi calibre have to suffer the ignominy of such humiliating rhetorics?

The one exception to the collage of crassness that the series advocates is Naila Grewal who plays a young idealistic lawyer straight out of Harvard pining to save the world. The script makes merciless fun of her chee-chee Zeenat Aman accent and her alkaline water.

The message is loud and clear: this is no country for civilized people. Join the bedlam by all means, but don’t expect any enlightening statement on the judicial system. The performances—even Ravi Kishan who is a riot in Lapataa Ladies—smack of utter mediocrity.

The presentation is, to use a favourite word from the series, egregious.

Our Rating

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