Courtroom dramas are subtle, tricky, and memorable. They focus on the play of words and laws, and often end up depicting and discussing important social evils in a simple manner.
Courtroom drama is a trending genre, that has been burgeoning in popularity in the last decade. Its taut, thrilling repartees, simple explanation of complex legal procedures, as well as dramatic situations manage to enthrall entire families and groups at any instance. If various shades and interpretations of the courtroom drama genre fascinate you, then these five films are a must-watch.
Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai
Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is a 2023 legal drama directed by Apoorv Singh Karki, starring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role. Inspired by real-life incidents, the film follows the story of a Sessions Court lawyer of Jodhpur, who fights a legal battle for five long years, for no personal benefit, in order to get justice for a minor girl, who was sexually abused by a famous godman. Gripping and full of sensitivity, the film invites discussion on the dark topic of minors being abused by known, close people, often even revered, powerful ones.
The film that opened the floor for discussion on consent cannot be missing from the list. This 2016 masterpiece by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury features a stellar cast as well as a resonating story. It follows the tale of three young women and their encounter with three rich men from affluent families. The fact that having dinner and drinks together does not guarantee a night of fornication, and that ‘NO, means NO’ seems to dawn 136 minutes too late upon the culprits.
This 2013 dark comedy legal drama stars Arshad Warshi, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla, and Amrita Rao. A brilliant film brimming with humor and spectacular repartees, it follows the story of a struggling lawyer, Jolly, and his attempt to give justice to the six labourers who were crushed to death by an affluent family’s scion’s drunk driving. Despite suffering several personal risks and monetary temptations, Jolly remains constant in his struggle and honesty, and is essayed perfectly by Arshad Warshi.
This 2021 Tamil-language courtroom drama was directed by T. J. Gnanavel and starred the likes of Suriya, Lijomol Jose, and Prakash Raj. It follows a real-life incident that occurred in 1993 and was fought by Justice K. Chandru, when he was practicing as a lawyer. A strong commentary on the topic of police bias, brutality, and state-sanctioned violence towards a marginalized community, it follows the story of a tribal man who is falsely accused and arrested of stealing, before vanishing from custody. The stirring film follows the case filed by his wife and fought by Advocate Chandru.
OMG- Oh My God!
This 2012 film is a satire on law and religion, a dangerous task, especially in a country like India. However, the Umesh Shukla-directed film did very well for itself, especially since it crossed the INR 100-crore club in India within 17 days of its theatrical premiere, on an INR 20-crore budget. It traces the story of an atheist who owns a shop of Hindu idols and antiques. When only his shop is destroyed in an earthquake and all his friends and family blame it on his religious beliefs, Kanji, the protagonist decides to sue God for the damage and fights his own case.