From Suriya's serious courtroom drama Jai Bhim to Gopichand's light-hearted legal take Pakka Commercial, south Indian cinema has produced unique films centered around the courtroom. The latest addition to this list is Kunchacko Boban's Nna Thaan Case Kodu, which is a satirical courtroom drama that questions the inherent biases in the legal system.
When a college professor is killed, the media falsely reports it as a rape case, catapulting the incident into a national issue. However, when matters are taken to court, the tables turn, and the Karnataka government and the case's investigative officer ACP Sajjan Kumar (played by a brilliant Suraj Venjaramoodu) are found to be guilty. We get to see Prithviraj Sukumaran only in the second half of Jana Gana Mana when the film settles for a courtroom debate. He plays a lawyer named Aravind Swaminathan. Apart from the multiple twists that keep you hooked, Prithviraj's power-packed arguments in the court make Jana Gana Mana a gripping watch. With a sequel on the cards, the film promises yet another high-intensity drama that focuses on Prithviraj's journey as a cop. You can tune into Netflix to watch this political-legal thriller.
Jai Bhim is based on a real case fought by Justice K Chandru. When Rajakannu and Sengeni, a couple from a marginalized community, are trapped in a case, the latter approaches Chandru (Suriya), a lawyer who fights for their justice. Three men, along with Rajakannu are said to have escaped from police custody. However, Chandru is on a hunt for evidence to prove police foul play. Jai Bhim is arguably one of the boldest films in Tamil cinema to have a straightforward depiction of state violence, caste bias and police brutality. Although Jai Bhim is a procedural drama, it has an engaging narrative backed by earnest performances.
Featuring screen icons Pawan Kalyan and Ajith Kumar from their respective industries, Vakeel Saab (Telugu) and Nerkonda Paarvai (Tamil) make for a fitting remake of Pink. When three girls are accused of a crime, a retired lawyer tries to help them. While both the films have sequences addressing the star image of the actors, the makers have managed to do so without deflecting from the core of what made Pink a striking legal drama. While Nerkonda Paarvai is available on Zee5, Vakeel Saab and Pink are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Sarkari Hi Pra Shaale, Kasaragodu, Koduge: Ramanna Rai is a film that revolves around the evil plans of corrupt officials who try to shut down a school. While this film is more of a social comedy, the final sequences take on a legal theme. The film's courtroom scenes are led by a sympathetic judge and an amateur lawyer who argues on behalf of the students. Though not your typical courtroom drama, this film makes for a sweet weekend watch.
When Gargi (Sai Pallavi) learns that her father is accused of raping a child, she is bent on proving his innocence. She is aided in this quest by lawyer Indrans (Kaali Venkat). The courtroom walls of Gargi do not reverberate with high-pitched voices or melodramatic breakdowns of witnesses. What you instead get is an earnest portrayal of a normal day in the court. Some of the best scenes in the courtroom belong to trans actor S Sudha, who plays a judge battling bigotry in the legal setup. With a unique setup and screenplay, the courtroom scenes in Gargi are quite refreshing. The film will stream on SonyLIV from August 12.
Professional commitments creating personal conflicts in a relationship is a familiar concept – this is the strong premise of the courtroom drama starring Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh. While the lawyers navigate their relationship from friends to husband and wife, they are up against each other professionally in an IPC 375 case. When one of Keerthy's friends Gautam is accused of sexual abuse by a female colleague under the false promise of marriage, Keerthy takes Gautam's side and Tovino, a public prosecutor appears on the opposite side. The film details the ego clashes between the protagonists while tracing how prejudices affect the final judgment. You can watch Vaashi on Netflix.
Manithan, starring Udhayanidhi Stalin as Sakthivel, is based on the 2013 film Jolly LLB. Sakthivel, a junior lawyer who is yet to have cracked a big case, is ridiculed among colleagues. His life takes a new turn when he files a Public Interest Litigation against a rich businessman. The case is about Rahul Dewan, who is accused of a hit-and-run incident under the influence of alcohol. Sakthivel fights the case against one of the most powerful supreme court lawyers. His rookie mistakes crack up the courtroom audience, but his earnest efforts keep you cheering him on as the film's audience. While Jolly LLB is a black comedy entertainer, Manithan takes the route of a legal thriller. You can watch Manithan on Disney+ Hotstar.
A father-son duo, both famous in their own right, locks horns in a case involving a businessman. Gopichand plays a money-hungry lawyer and Sathyaraj plays his father, an honest former judge. While most of the sequences take place within the court, the film is keen on evoking humor rather than drama. And whenever it moves out of the court, it turns into an action comedy. You can tune into Netflix to watch the engaging performances of Gopichand, Sathyaraj, and Raashi Khanna.
Agni (Chetan Kumar) is accused of killing his father. When this case is brought to court, the judge finds it confusing to pass a judgment. So, he decides to bring in a 10-member expert panel to give their final verdict. This leads to arguments, fights, and scrambling over Agni's innocence. Dashamukha is inspired by the 1957 classic Twelve Angry Men, which traces the story of an 18-year-old boy accused of stabbing his abusive father to death. A 12-men jury then deliberates on his conviction. The Kannada film is available to watch on YouTube.
Radha Gopalam explores the marital conflict between a lawyer couple. When Radha (Sneha), a daughter of a judge, becomes her husband Gopalam's (Srikanth) superior, the differences in their career growth cause a rift between the two. And when they are seen on the opposite sides of a domestic violence case, it takes a bigger toll on their relationship. The film has its flaws but it stresses the importance of compassion and equality in a relationship in a clever and relatable manner. You can watch the film on Disney+ Hotstar.