LAW is the first direct to OTT release from the Kannada industry. Coincidentally the first direct OTT release from Tamil was the lacklustre PonMagal Vandhal. The similarities do not end there. Both are courtroom dramas involving a female lawyer, it is the protagonist’s first case and has a personal angle, the crime involved is rape, both also share the Judge-attendant banter that goes nowhere and contributes nothing. Another unfortunate similarity- both the movies seem to be mounted solely on a clever twist without the supporting hinges of story, screenplay and acting.
LAW is guilty on account of non-performance in all departments. The characters seem to be picked up from the sets of a different movie or a nursery play. The police officer (Mandya Ramesh) who registers the complaint is so over the top and loud, he could have dubbed for this movie sitting in Mandya (a town 100 KMS from Bagalore) and still get recorded by the dubbing studio mic in Bangalore. Why is he exasperatingly loud and cracking inappropriate and unfunny jokes? Why have good performers like Avinash and Mukhyamantri Chandru been given lines out of a low budget soap opera? Why is the judge’s wife bashing comedy required in the middle of a court session? These questions will find themselves on Quora jostling for space with other unanswered queries like Did Leo’s totem continue spinning at the end of inception?
The audience is taken for granted like the voters from the constituency of a nepotistic incumbent. We need to accept that Ragini Prajwal’s character is smart. Why? Because she plays with a Rubik’s cube. Or because the defence lawyer says that he underestimated her. The court proceedings and her arguments do nothing to show this trait. The judge character is cast in the same mould as the judge from Jolly LLB, but built with the discarded material and diluted with silly dialogues. Where is the plot, one might ask? Lost somewhere in the labyrinthine maze of comedy that does not work, dialogues that are out of place, editing that is hurried at some places and sluggish at others. By the time, the ‘whydunit’ unravels, the only question one seems to be asking is the existential one: WHY?
Puneet Rajkumar Productions has invested in some brilliant experimental movies like Kavaaludaari and Mayabazaar 2016. Hope this remains a minor blip in this interesting list. LAW belongs to the genre of court room dramas like Pink or the more recent Article 375 in the same way as ‘cats belong to the tiger family’ (this biology defying line is from the movie). In the meanwhile, the fire that engulfed the room full of law books with the release of PonMagal Vandhal has been fanned by LAW. Here’s looking to a well-made movie in this genre that douses the fire.
Captive of the 24 frames and admirer of the written word. If it is not on the silver screen or on the pages of a paperback, it might as well not exist.