aaLAWchak: Man Disposes, God proposes
‘Sometimes, you just need a tryst of destiny in your favour’
Starring: Salim Shah and Vishal Singh
Directed by: Salim Shah
Duration: One Hour ten minutes
‘Man Disposes, God proposes’ by Mr. Salim Shah, revolves around two individuals, an accused and his lawyer. The accused, Himaqat Qureshi, has been charged for murdering his wife and all the evidence are against him. He in fact, has committed murder of his wife. However, Mr. Himaqat Qureshi is a man of limited means and cannot afford a lawyer. When he is assisted by the Legal Aid Cells, by a stroke of dumb luck, he appoints an out of work Tis hazari lawyer, Mr. Kamal Kant Tripathi to represent him before the trial Court.
Mr. Kamal Kant Tripathi, has spent most of his professional years on the sidelines. This murder case is his first brief as a lawyer, in a career spanning 25 years. More than the accused, its his life which is at stake as this could be the only case of his career. This matter is a make or break matter for Mr. Tripathi and he intends to put all his legal knowledge to help the accused and more importantly himself.
To win the case, Mr. Tripathi tries to pull out various rabbits out of his hat to help his client.
His first, line of defence is that the crime was committed in the fit of rage and passion as the wife of the accused was of an immoral character. However, a brief description of the wife and her antics shows no signs towards the same.
Then, he tries to introduce the concept of surprise witness and delves on it for hours and prepares a whole narration out of it, only to realize that he and his client do not have a surprise witness.
Thereafter, he puts a forward a theory to put the blame of the murder on wife’s fried, Babban. However, this plan also fails as Babban was in police custody at the time of the murder.
When all the above stated theories were coming across as futile, Mr. Tripathi decides to give a moving and emotional closing argument to save his client.
Unfortunately, Mr. Tripathi could not muster up enough courage to speak anything on the day of the hearing and his client is held to be guilty.
Mr. Tripathi is low on self-confidence and is disheartened. He decides to file an appeal against the decision and thinks that he can do wonders before the High Court, where pure question of law would be involved.
However, his client informs him that the Lieutenant governor of Delhi has directed the authorities to release the accused on account of the fact that the case suffers from mistrial as the counsel for the defence has miserable failed to adequately represent the accused.
Thus, by sheer dumb luck, in a case where the accused was guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the accused was let off on account of inability of his lawyer to contest the case for his client. Mr. Kamal Kant Tripathi was appointed by the accused by closing his eyes and pointing the finger in the large room of lawyers. Who knew, a bad lawyer will be able to get the best of relief for his client.
Fortunes of Mr. Tripathi, take an upswing and he becomes the most sought after lawyer in Delhi.
The play is filled with funny dialogues and takes a lot of dig at the profession of lawyers. The play also comments on the tussle between the Delhi Govt. and the Lieutenant Governor.
Though we expected a Court room drama, involving multiple characters, we were saddened when the play was bereft of the same. Nonetheless, the play is immensely watchable and not too long either.
Acting wise, Saleem Shah is phenomenal and comes across as a very convincing out of work lawyer. If you would recollect, he is the same person who plays Jai’s father in 1990s famous teleserial ‘Just Mohabbat’ on Sony.
Vishal Singh is good but we were of the opinion that the writers/directors directed him to over react. As far as direction is concerned, the same is laudable as the play keeps you engaged for most of the time.
The writers while writing the play, appear to have keenly studied the turmoil some lawyers have to go through. The research on the defences that a criminal lawyer can set up also appear to have been thought through.
To sum it up, ‘Man Disposes, God proposes’ is a watchable play. Some of its finer nuances and humour will appeal more to the lawyer community than to non-lawyers.