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Ravichandran Shines in Predictable Yet Engaging Courtroom Drama “The Judgement”

In an intriguing journey through the corridors of the Indian legal system, director Gururaj Kulkarni’s “The Judgement” presents a compelling, albeit predictable, courtroom drama. The film follows the tale of Anil, played by Diganth Manchale, an investment banker who finds himself embroiled in a murder accusation, which forms the crux of the story. Anil is arrested for the alleged murder of Roopa, the head of an NGO, portrayed by Roopa Rayappa. From the get-go, there is a lingering sensation that Anil may not be the real perpetrator, a feeling that sticks with the audience throughout the narrative.

Renowned lawyer Govind, essayed by V. Ravichandran, enters the scene as Anil’s legal counsel. Known for his remarkable legal prowess, Govind’s arguments and courtroom antics ensure Anil’s conviction. Despite this, there remains a sense of unease that all is not as it appears, suggesting layers of complexity beneath the surface of the case.

“The Judgement” delves more into the nuances of the Indian legal framework than the murder investigation itself, keeping the viewers on a constant edge of revelation. The audience is often two steps ahead of the unfolding story, even as the director weaves supposed surprises into the plot. This paradox makes for an engaging, if somewhat predictable, viewing experience.

The narrative takes a significant turn when Govind has a change of heart, spurred by a moment of introspection influenced by a poignant query from his wife, played by Meghana Gaonkar. Govind’s wife, a lecturer, questions the moral compass of taking up cases for the sake of ego and pride, prompting Govind to reevaluate his stance on Anil’s innocence. This shift in Govind’s perspective breathes new life into the film as he decides to revisit the case with fresh eyes.

As Govind delves deeper into the investigation, the film offers a fascinating insight into the operative mechanisms of the courtroom and the plethora of laws that come into play. Through Govind’s journey, viewers are introduced to the myriad possibilities that can unfold within a legal drama, making “The Judgement” an informative watch.

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However, the movie isn’t without its flaws. Despite significant effort to create a gripping legal drama, the film often feels like a television serial. The dramatic background score, especially during key investigatory scenes, tends to be overbearing, detracting from the overall experience. The production design, particularly the depiction of the courtroom, also appears somewhat outdated, which hampers the film’s modern appeal.

The supporting characters, like Anil’s parents portrayed by Rangayana Raghu and Rekha Kudligi, exhibit melodramatic tendencies reminiscent of soap operas, adding to the serialized effect. Furthermore, Qureshi, the corrupt minister and one of the antagonists, displays the exaggerated traits typical of a villain from such serials. Krishna Hebbale’s performance brings some respite, lending credibility to an otherwise cliched character. Additional scenes focusing on junior lawyers commenting on Govind’s prowess often feel unnecessary and dilute the film’s focus on the main storyline.

“The Judgement” faces criticism for its failure to strengthen the whodunnit element. The clues scattered throughout the film often appear conveniently placed, making it relatively easy for the audience to guess the true culprits. This predictability undermines the suspense essential for a highly effective courtroom thriller.

Despite its shortcomings, “The Judgement,” anchored masterfully by Ravichandran’s portrayal of Govind, does manage to hold the viewer’s attention. The relentless stream of legal jargon and courtroom proceedings, although exhaustive, contribute significantly to the film’s watchability.

To sum up, while Gururaj Kulkarni’s sophomore venture might not be a stellar whodunnit, it still provides a satisfactory engagement level. The predictability of the plot is counterbalanced by the intricate portrayal of legal intricacies and Ravichandran’s compelling performance. “The Judgement” stands as a noteworthy addition to Kannada cinema’s legal drama genre, offering a thoughtful peek into what drives practitioners of law and the ethical dilemmas they navigate.