Now that’s how the web series ought to be. Shot like a film and detailed like a TV show while ensuring that every episode brings in something exciting for audiences to munch on, The Verdict turns out to be one of the most prestigious outings from Ekta Kapoor’s web platform ALT Balaji. A superb take on the infamous Nanavati trial that practically shook the nation more than half a century ago, it takes a deep dive into the politics of love, sex aur dhokha, and then brings in further twist to tale by making viewers guess – ‘what next’!
Just a few weeks back Balaji came up with MoM – Mission Over Mars that came close on the heels of Akshay Kumar’s Mission Mangal. Now yet another film of the superstar, Rustom, has its story being taken forward to the next level in the web series The Verdict. What makes this special is the fact that while Rustom focused on Akshay Kumar for a large part of affair, The Verdict is not as much about Manav Kaul (who plays Nanavati in a very real manner) but more about the court room drama where opinions of the jury members were influenced by the trio of lawyers, Sumeet Vyas (playing late Ram Jethmalani), Makrand Deshpande (the public prosecutor) and Angad Bedi (the defence lawyer). The manner in which the case swings like a pendulum after every passing episode is what keeps you hooked right through the proceedings.
This is where the story element comes into full force as the story moves back and forth between how Manav Kaul met his wife from the west, Elli Avram (perfect casting here), how the lady fell in love with Viraf Patel (who is truly a find) and how the love birds were supported by the guy’s sister (Kubra Sait – perfect outside the court, over expressive inside it). Meanwhile, the man who declares loud and clear that the souls are meant to be tarnished is Saurabh Shukla, chief of the tabloid Blitz, who proclaims loud and clear that it is gossip that would rule 50 years down the line when the ‘nation would want to know’!
What a proclamation indeed because even though The Verdict has a period setting to it, the stage, setting, dialogues, milieu and ambience are as contemporary as they get. Special mention here for a cameo appearance by an actor playing Dev Anand who makes much forward thinking Guide around the same time and wonders why love like the one between a married woman and her lover can’t be accepted! Truly the case of fact meeting fiction.
It is this very tale of a relatable story being told with just the kind of spice that you expect in an entertainer series that makes The Verdict a must watch. Yes, at a couple of places it does seem to get into a couple of tangents where edition could have come in handy to make it a much crisper affair. However leave that aside and The Verdict turns out to be a show that is for the masses as well as the classes. It excites, engages and thrills.
A must watch!