The Chargesheet: Web Series Review
“ZEE5’s ‘The Chargesheet: Innocent or Guilty?’ revolves around the investigation led by the CBI after the cold-blooded murder of a national table tennis champion. Does the show deliver a winning hit? Is it worth a watch? Find out in this review.”
‘The Chargesheet: Innocent or Guilty?’ revolves around the aftermath of the murder of Shiraz Malik, a national table tennis champion, following the investigation led by CBI Officer Vidur Mehra, and the subsequent courtroom drama – uncovering aspects of the case that creates ripples across political circles and shakes the nation with its revelations.
The series provides all the pieces to the plot one by one – establishing the characters, their history, evolving relationships and the consequences of these evolutions – while also interweaving politics into the storyline and how it affected the case which seemed to be primarily driven by love, desire, and betrayal.
The late 80s are showcased well, encapsulating an era marked with political instability and shifting alliances, and the superhit classic Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak with its euphonious chartbuster songs that echoed in every corner of the country, with ease.
Satish Kaushik as the overconfident lawyer Chotrani provides some relief with his jokes that bring out a chuckle or two during an otherwise tediously drawn-out storyline. The not-so-serious arguments in the court between Mr. Chotrani and Abha Abhyankar (Ashwini Kalsekar) make an entertaining watch.
The narrative keeps oscillating back and forth in time to provide more pieces to the puzzle. While it could’ve been done effectively, it feels abrupt and the constant shifting in timelines crushes whatever interest that builds up in the ongoing story, only to be dragged back or forth in time.
The story manages to build suspense and interest initially, but everything fizzes out as the story moves forward. Good crime thrillers and courtroom dramas require suspense, thrill, and tension that build-up towards the end – this one is severely lacking in these essentials, making the show look like random tidbits of information thrown around to stitch together something that resembles a plot, wanting to ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ viewers but barely managing to do so.
The Chargesheet, despite having done a great job at casting, fails to utilize the potential of its exceptionally talented ensemble of actors, who are trapped within a weakly-woven plot and uni dimensional (or badly written) characters, with not much space to shine.
The story loses its grip even before it is halfway through, and becomes a dull and dreary chore to watch any further. Even if you manage to get to the end, you are left unsatisfied due to the lack of a proper direction in the plot.
The main characters seemed to be poorly written. Shiraz’s wife, Antara, started her arc well but steadily became insignificant to the plot as the story progressed further. The interactions between characters, be it romantic or confrontational, lacked any impact and at times, seemed forced.
What could’ve been an absorbing and compelling watch is left ridden with weak characterizations, a lackluster storyline, poor execution, and a disappointing conclusion. The entire thing goes awry after the first couple episodes, and by the end, there’s not much left to save at all.
ZEE5 has done shows that are really well-executed and have compelling storylines – The Chargesheet is unfortunately not one of them, suffering from bad execution and a fizzled-out narrative that fails to maintain interest.
While the producers refuse to acknowledge any similarities to real-life incidents and present it as a work of fiction, the storyline closely resembles the 1988 Syed Modi murder case in most of its aspects.
Shashant Shah is also the director of the recent ALTBalaji and ZEE5 web series, The Verdict – State Vs Nanavati, which was based on the infamous 1959 M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra court case.
Arunoday Singh, who plays the politician Ranveer Pratap Singh in The Chargesheet, was also the lead in ALTBalaji’s action-thriller web series, Apharan.
Also Read: Apharan: Web Series Review