In the SonyLiv web series Your Honor, a judge from Ludhiana loses his honour and sense of judgement when his only son gets involved in a hit-and-run accident. Abeer (Pulkit Makol) grievously injures a biker and flees. As if that isn’t bad enough, the accident victim is the son of gangster Satbir (Mahaveer Bhullar).
Even as Satbir, who is in prison, swears revenge, the judge Bishan (Jimmy Sheirgill) begins behaving like the countless criminals he has put behind bars. What kind of a son have I raised that he leaves an injured man on the road, Bishan wonders. The severely asthmatic teenager hasn’t overcome his mother’s death by suicide and doesn’t appear to have a single friend in the world. Besides, Bishan is up for a promotion from the circuit court to the high court.
The judge bends the law he has sworn to protect, from lying about the vehicle Abeer was driving to creating a fall guy who is supplied by his friend, Kashi (Varun Bandola). However, Bishan isn’t quite the author of the perfect alibi. He asks his adoring protege Ruma (Parul Gulati) to represent the fall guy, Guddan (Parag Gupta). Yet, like the pathetic Abeer, who has a habit of constantly causing trouble through his worrying and moping, Bishan slips up ever so often.
The tribal loyalties to which the judge falls prey infect nearly everybody in the series. The police inspector in charge, Kiran (Mita Vashisht), is torn between her duty and keeping the peace between Satbir and rival Bihari gangster Pandit (Yashpal Sharma). Kashi, Pandit, and Guddan are outsiders in a city that scorns them, and Pandit doesn’t like it one bit that Kashi has sacrificed Guddan to save Bishan.
The tale of abstract justice melting before the concrete reality of family and relationships has been adapted from the popular Israeli series Kvodo by Ishan Trivedi and directed by E Niwas. The adaptation doesn’t tinker with the original show’s beats of endless dramatic twists and flourishes and instead focuses on the characterisation and performances. Even as Bishan’s grand plan spirals out of control, taking a great deal of narrative logic along with it, the performances stay on course and the characters continue to earn our interest, if not always our empathy.
Bishan’s ability to carry off criminal acts undetected cannot be ascribed to the inefficiency of Ludhiana’s law enforcement but must, instead, be blamed on script-writing exigencies. It helps that he is played Jimmy Sheirgill, who turns out a finely tuned performance that captures both Bishan’s love for his son as well as his ruthless and self-serving ways.
Mita Vashisht is excellent as Kiran, a single mother trying to sail a rickety boat through very choppy waters. She subtly portrays Kiran’s deference towards Bishan, whom she respects, as well as Kiran’s frustration when she begins to pay a heavy price for that respect. Varun Badola, whose Kashi is similarly forced to lay his head on the chopping block for Bishan, Yashpal Sharma, as the ruthless gangster Pandit, and Kunj Anand, as Satbir’s equally ruthless son Harnam, each leave their mark in their scenes.
Pulkit Makol is all too convincing as the unlikable and feckless Abeer. He is the kind who will, and does, get into trouble, and then expect to be bailed out for it. Since Your Honor revolves around Bishan’s rescue mission, sympathies are stacked in favour of this youthful-looking and trim judge. Yet, and perhaps inadvertently, the show reveals the price that others have to pay for Bishan’s blinkered love. The 12-episode series ends on a cliffhanger, and has at least one more season to explore the ways in which Bishan goes to extremes to prove that the law can be an ass.