“Maamla Gadbad Hai” is an oft-used Hindi phrase that is often used to express doubt, suspicion, chaos and problems. This rhetorical phrase is self-explanatory, unless you are asking for an explanation which will not be to your liking. Just by replacing the word “gadbad” with “legal” gives out the moral of the story in this hilarious take on the court system as it exists in a lesser known location like Patparganj.

This eight-part series may remind you of ‘Jolly LLB’ but it reaches beyond the story of a beginner lawyer struggling to establish his credentials through a high-profile case and winning. It establishes just the right physical and character-centric ambience of a small court in a small location in a large city, in this case, the National Capital Delhi.

The narrative is set against the backdrop and also, the foreground of the district court of Patparganj, where everything linked to law and anything legal is fraught with problems, casual ignorance of the letter of law, but has lots of surprises and fun. Everything is presented and structured in a vein of comedy and satire that does not hurt the sentiments of the legal and judicial fraternity of a small neighbourhood and yet entertains viewers glued to their screens.

It is entirely a character-driven series where most things appear crazy, nutty and everything other than normal. But it is ‘normal’ for everyone linked to their individual stories and to each other within the premises of the court. This includes the court compound inside the gates where lawyers jostle for both clients and tables because they cannot afford a chamber or a table inside the court premises unless they can shell out around Rs.50,000 or more.

Let us take a closer look at Ravi Kishan who portrays V. D. Tyagi. He wears expensive sunglasses, and throws in a lot of swagger to pretend an importance he does not really have. He has two lackeys who are his ‘assistances’ and one Sikh friend who worships the ground Tyagi walks on.

But despite his swagger and his tall talk, Tyagi is basically a likeable soul who is forever scared of his ambition of becoming the Bar Association President of Patparganj being foiled by the local politician played by Yashpal Sharma. He is active in politics while Tyagi is not.

Tyagi is already the self-declared head of the Patparganj Bar Association and has a chamber inside the court premises, though many of his peers do not as they cannot afford it. They have to both compete with, and sit cheek by jowl, with touts, and agents. The few cases being argued inside the court are hilarious to the hilt.

Directed by Rahul Pandey, written by Kunal Aneja and Saurabh Khanna, the series picks on the salient points of real-life cases as it announces in the beginning. The case’ fought in court and outside it, even within the prison bars offer a great deal of comic incidents.

One such is a case where a woman has filed a complaint against a bad-mouthing parrot who attacks her with ‘gandi gaalis’. This parrot is actually presented in court with the complainant feeling thoroughly embarrassed when questioned while the shameless parrot continues with its ribaldry.

It is a pleasant surprise to discover, once at least over so many series and films, that the Harvard law graduate Ananya Shroff (Naila Grewal) is not given a second glance for her foreign degree and her pretty looks. Her intentions are quite good in trying to learn and train in this court with socially relevant cases specially for poor clients who cannot afford to pay their lawyer’s fees. But one such case lands her in a soup, though in the end she is shocked to discover that her client is calm and takes it as his due.

The pretty Sujata (Nidhi Bisht), who jostles with junior lawyers outside the premises is brilliant and keeps the narrative throbbing with life. Despite her ambitions of becoming a noted lawyer not bearing fruit, and forcing her to remain single, she is full of spunk and is cheerful enough to keep the viewers in cheer as well.

Her sole aim in life is to have her own legal chamber, but this does not happen though she is a qualified lawyer. Sadly though, she does not land a single case in many years. Ananya sails on the same boat and with every step she takes forward, she is metaphorically propelled back by the shock of discovery of what this court really looks like and the way things keep happening in and around with no one turning a hair.

Vishwas Pandey (Anant V. Joshi) is the court manager who tells Ananya that he is the “Donna” of the court and when Ananya asks him to explain, he simply asks, “Have you not watched ‘Suits’?” referring to the charismatic secretary from the serial.

The chaos created by the monkeys inside the court premises is too dragging an incident that leads to one more funny factor. The chai-boy of the court is given a legal post by the court as the “official langur” to scare off the monkeys, throwing whatever little order in the court in complete disarray.

A very funny diversion is created in the prison where a couple, behind bars in separate jails, place a request for a proper conjugal life in prison under strict legal supervision. Is their request granted? The woman custodian and jail supervisor, also a woman, finally agree.

The wife becomes pregnant, gives birth to a baby and is taken care of by special regulations provided for nursing mothers within the jail. This is the most, tongue-in-cheek, hilarious of episodes in the entire series, beautifully written, scripted and directed in the entire series. The couple is mostly shown in suggestion but the episode comes across strong and funny.

Tyagi’s encounters with his retired judge father who lives separately, and is quite unhappy about his widower son’s means of going up the ladder, are needless and over-sentimental intrusions in a series that did not call for family melodrama.

The fisticuffs between Tyagi and his opponent who wins the elections to the contest of Bar Association President is completely uncalled for. One fails to understand why Yashpal Sharma has been given such short shrift by the director and the screenplay.

Tanvi Azmi as the judge with some really caustic but funny lines to deliver is very good, and it is a pleasant surprise after a long time. Ravi Kishen’s performance is tops. The final scene when Tyagi accepts his position as judge and the senior judge bows in respect followed by everyone else is very good and emotionally touching.

‘Mamla Legal Hai’ may not win any prizes for popularity or direction or action but it comes like a breath of fresh air in the jungle of a whole lot of real crime stories, imported law and crime serials and light romances.