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Review: ‘Guilty Minds’ Is Thought-Provoking TV Made for an Engaging Watch
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Review: ‘Guilty Minds’ Is Thought-Provoking TV Made for an Engaging Watch

'Guilty Minds' stars Shriya Pilgaonkar and Varun Mitra in the lead.

Updated
Movie Reviews
4 min read

Review: ‘Guilty Minds’ Is Thought Provoking TV Made for an Engaging Watch

Think of the few things that tend to make people uncomfortable and they don’t usually want to speak about— sexual consent? The confusion of corporate social responsibility (sometimes)? The hypocrisy, black and white, deluded and violent, fascist worldview of the Left? The myopic conservatism of the Right?

Well, in an increasingly polarised world, where things seem to only exist on the extreme left and right of things (both of which are a menace to society) and all things, men and women included, are either good or bad, victims or villains, right and wrong, comes a show that wants to reject these hyper extremities and then, actually deal with and engage with what is real, the in between, the greys, the nuances because who will tell the rabid dogs out for each other’s blood, in the name of some false ideal, that neither is real.

Guilty Minds starts an important conversation which, whether we like it or not, most people on this planet are not ready for or even aware of. What exactly is consent and where do the lines of yes, no and maybe blur? What is violence and are we born with it? Why are people parched and starving, who is to blame? Where does fertility, sexuality and the female body play into things?

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Pertinent questions are positioned in a way in this show which make them digestible, entertaining and not preachy at all. For subjects so laden and confusing, the show does an excellent job at putting things across gently, simply and engagingly which is a feat in itself.

Guilty Minds is smartly chic, modern, with loud mouthed progressive Muslim families and strong and independent daughters and there are also intelligent, feminine, non-caricature lesbian characters, there are Delhi boys but they are more nuanced, more wholesome and more human than the usual Hindi films and shows allow them to be and then there’s Delhi and Mumbai itself, the big bad cities with the good, the bad and the ugly.

Varun Mitra in Guilty Minds.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The characters, their friendships, romances and relationships, even their families and sexualities, are carefully constructed and rightfully and thoughtfully so. They seem like afterthoughts but are in fact, part of a careful design. In this milieu, are privileged lawyers, businessmen and even film stars. They attend standup comedy evenings (the new go to for web shows it seems), catch drinks with their opponents, and even nurse private wounds.

In this universe, two female lawyers, played by Shriya Pilgaonkar and Sugandha Garg steal the show. Shriya is effortless in her zeal for female justice and Sugandha is a natural in her space. Varun Mitra, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and the rest of the male cast is also stellar. They remain men, the way we actually know them, not entirely always the monsters they’re shown to be and not entirely innocent either.

Shriya Pilgaonkar in a still from Guilty Minds.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Looking back, it feels like films like Pink and Thappad set a more black and white space for something as grey and nuanced to take place. This is a true feminist show for men and women are equal here, equally capable of good, of bad, of lying, of manipulation.

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The story follows a group of lawyers as they pursue a case where a famous director is accused by a big-time film actress of sexual assault. At first, what seems like a clear-cut case, then turns murkier. A young boy commits violence and is influenced by a game (why are video games always blamed for things that are their faults? Because it truly isn’t their fault you know) then we have parched villagers from interior Maharashtra to IVF clinics and government conspiracies.

A still from Guilty Minds.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

It seems, victim and perpetrator are far more complex labels to carry than one had thought and not everything is at it seems and how then, do social understandings and the law interpret experiences and complexities through the lens of cold, hard facts that make up the law.

Each episode is one such hard hitting, dry and bitter sounding story but be rest assured and don’t let the seriousness of the subjects ward you off for the show, is wildly entertaining and worth every minute’s attention. Each episode sails on the backs of two judiciary infused families, one of a staunch judge and the other of a family law firm, and it is the young, charged and sexually forward lawyers of the two setups that run the game.

A still from the legal drama series Guilty Minds.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

As the cases and fire of the courtroom go down every day, so do their lives outside. Age old murders in home towns, jealousies and sexual rivalries all play out in this show and the show remains true to its ensemble cast where there is no one character or storyline that is dominant. The lead handful of characters all get their due, get their stories and are as deeply layered.

This show, created by Shefali Bhushan along with Manav Bhushan, Jayant Somalkar and Deeksha Gujral, is astounding in its reach, trying to branch out far and wide and encompass such complexities. Shefali Bhushan directs like a master and the set design and costume also dresses up the universe realistically and yet, is able to make things visually striking.

This is a binge worthy, thought-provoking piece of television and is made for a close, attentive and engaging watch, promising to stay with you long after it is over.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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