420 IPC review: An underwhelming courtroom drama blighted by several issues

Rating: 1.5/5

420 IPC is a ZEE5 original that follows the story of an unassuming and simple CA, Bansi Keswani, and how he is caught right in the centre of a case involving bank fraud and forgery.


Bansi Keswani (Vinay Pathak) is a chartered accountant living a regular middle-class life with his wife, Pooja (Gul Panag) and son, Amit, when everything is turned upside down as one of his high profile clients is under scrutiny for embezzlement. He comes out of this ordeal with a clean chit but his problems do not seem to end there.

A few months later, he finds himself accused of theft, forgery and bank fraud by another of his clients, Mr Sinha (Arif Zakaria), who is a prominent builder in the city. He’s sent to prison and has to prepare himself for the court case up ahead.

He hires a young upstart lawyer, Birbal Chaudhary (Rohan Mehra), who has some unique methods in his repertoire. The more he digs into this case, however, the more he realises that all is not what it seems when it comes to his client.

He also has to pit his wits against the respected senior public prosecutor, Sawak Jamshedji (Ranvir Shorey), whose only goal is to send the accused to prison for his crimes.

As the case moves forward, more information crops up that shed a light on what’s really going on behind the scenes and who the real culprit is in this scenario.


Vinay Pathak is a seasoned professional who is seriously underutilised here. While he gets the role of the middle-class citizen spot on, he isn’t given enough time on screen to showcase his true range.

Rohan Mehra’s performance as the youthful lawyer is quite wooden, with his delivery coming off very dry and devoid of much emotion.

Performers like Ranvir Shorey and Gul Panag should be offering suitable support to the cast, yet their performances feel held back when compared to what they are truly capable of.

The rest of the cast only occupy bit-part roles and even then their inexperience tends to slip through at certain moments.


The short sequence where the audience is put in doubt as to whether Bansi is truly guilty or not is actually quite engaging. The climax was a promising idea that would hit the right notes with better handling.

With such a serious tone, the lack of any songs or unnecessary comedic sequences was definitely a good decision made by the director.


The pacing is all over the place. With a very brief runtime, many of the sequences rush past without so much as a set-up, causing a disconnect for the audience.

The script and its delivery make the audience feel like they’re being dragged along for the ride that isn’t really headed somewhere exciting.

There is minimal use of a background score, which adds to the dry nature of the film. Sometimes the right tones can add to the intensity of a particular scene, but that isn’t to be seen here.

The courtroom sequences are truly uninspiring with deadpan arguments put forward by the lawyers at times making it seem like they don’t want to be there either.

Worth it?

‘420 IPC’ is a serious drama with a shorter run time that can easily be ignored as it does not truly illicit any feelings of excitement in the eventual outcome.

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