To throw: Jimmy Sheirgill, Gulshan Grover, Varun Badola, Parul Gulati, Mita Vashisht
Director: E Niwas
Evaluation: 3 stars (out of 5)
Sony LIV Your Honor, a remake of a popular Israeli web series, was a solidly crafted show. If not as good, the densely plotted and deliberately paced Season 2 laudably comes close to a rare act of rehearsal. As they did in the first 12 episodes of the story, director E. Niwas and writer Ishan Trivedi keep control of the drama and action and don’t let the latter overwhelm the former. Your Honor Season 2 is a clever mix of intrigue and intensity.
More of the same can often translate into too many good things. The new 10-episode season – five episodes released this week, five more to follow next Friday – seeks to avoid the inevitable risk of being repetitive by introducing a handful of new characters and creating new settings to inject variety into the tale. The core of Your Honor, of course, remains the same: Judge Bishan Khosla (Jimmy Sheirgill) continues to sink into a bottomless cesspool. His conflict with his conscience, the underworld, and the police takes on darker overtones as he fights, back to the wall, on behalf of his ailing son Abeer (Pulkit Makol).
The story, with its modest scale and modulated means of delivery, holds its constant line thanks to the moral complexity sustained at the heart of the drama – it undoubtedly flows from the structure and substance of the original show. The quality of the acting – more sober than demonstrative – is once again impressively consistent with Jimmy Sheirgill in the role of the protagonist who submits his principles to his fatherly instincts in mind.
The story that focuses on attempts to keep the law from taking its own course is always gripping because it is more about the emotions than the flashy action. Your Honor S2, if its first five episodes are reliable indicators, rejects the direct methods. The show benefits from the carefully measured delineation of the multiple facets of the aggravation of the judge’s struggles.
The layers are gradually peeled off as the characters – whether on the side of the law or against it (sometimes indistinguishable from each other) – face off in a dangerous game that doesn’t has no winners. The understated manner, even without haste, reinforces the impact of the series. He frequently walks away from violence and foul language – of course, neither is lacking here – and shines the spotlight on the psychological and emotional dimensions of the intensifying struggle between the protagonist of on the one hand and the underworld and the police on the other hand.
As we watch the machinations of the men and women who were featured in the first season as well as those who just walked into the narrative, our minds come back to what Judge Khosla (Jimmy Sheirgill) said to an understudy in season 1: “There are no angels in this story.” Indeed. Your Honor deals with varying degrees of moral degeneration.
The only one who could have been a blameless man is the judge himself. But circumstances conspired against him, and his continually questionable choices under duress weakened his chances of rising above the mess he can only blame himself for. Judge Khosla is months away from being elevated to the high court, but he has never been so at the mercy of the manipulative gangs he has thwarted in his desperation to protect his son from a ruthless family wrath criminal.
Judge Khosla always prides himself on never being wrong in his verdicts, but the hit-and-run case that pushed him and Abeer down the tortuous path of a ruthless Ludhiana gang forces him to take action against his own sound advice. The judge is more than ever pulled in different directions in the face of the raging rivalry between the Mudkis and the Pandits and the relentless pressure that newly reinstated policeman Kiran Sekhon (Mita Vashisht) exerts on him.
When Kiran is convinced to return to the police force in the city of Ludhiana, the DSP refers to his need for “manpower”. A pregnant break punctuates the conversation. In a man’s world, Kiran is a woman who does not rely on the men around her for the power she wields. The judge faces the full brunt of his tenacity and his ability to adapt.
The showdown between the judge and the policewoman takes some time to build up, but once it does, it livens up the story considerably. Not that these are not other elements and figures in Your Honor S2 which do pretty much the same thing. Gulshan Grover appears as the boss of the Tarn Taran gang, a third flank that Judge Khosla has to reckon with.
In fact, it’s the suave slimeball played by Grover – a nightclub owner who runs a crime empire using his putative core business as a front – and his cold, calculating partner Yashpreet (Mahie Gill, another addition to the ‘story) who are slapping on the judge’s well-groomed heels more than any of the other antagonists.
Patriarch Mudki Satbir (Mahabir Bhullar) is in the slammer and his firstborn Satnam is dead. His youngest son, the brooding Harman (Kunj Anand), prone to impulsive action, runs the show and is as much of a thorn in the judge’s side as he was the first time around.
The leader of the Pandit gang (who was played with aplomb by Yashpal Sharma in S1) is dead and gone. His unscrupulous brother Jagda (Zeishan Quadri) is now in the saddle. He uses Indu Samthar (Richa Pallod), widow of the late CRPF Kashi (Varun Badola, who makes fleeting appearances in scenes from episodes from the previous season), as a bargaining chip to keep Judge Khosla on his toes.
In addition, a religious leader, Mahant Adhiban (Anang Desai), hopes to compel Judge Khosla to render a favorable judgment in a land dispute case. The latter has the possibility of a compromise but he must carefully weigh the pros and cons of his judgment. It could end one feud and reopen another. It does exactly that. The rhythm of Your Honor S2 is same. Its twists are spaced for maximum impact. It continues to stay true to the spirit of the original series, Kvodo, created by Ron Nino and Shlomo Mashiach, even though it emphasizes the cultural nuances of the place in which it takes place.
The emphasis is still on the middle, which lends Your Honor its unwavering roots. The tale of locals versus strangers in the midst of the crossfire that the judge is caught in makes perfect sense and defines the progression of much of the plot. Powered by Sheirgill and Vashisht, this story of privilege of power, morality and the functioning of the legal system has a crackling and sustained energy. Gulshan Grover, Mahie Gill and Zeishan Quadri deliver remarkable performances, as does Pulkit Makol as the troubled son.
Your Honor Season 2 is the kind of web series that’s easy to recommend – it’s captivating in every way.