A daring attempt which zooms to the prevailing social and political atmosphere in India. A must watch !!
With no new theater releases, the movie lovers have been completely reliant on online platforms. In India, there is a new wave of tv-series releases and a huge surge in fan following. Amazon has hit the bulls eye with its latest release “Paatal Lok” created by Sudip Sharma. A complete political thriller which zooms to the current political realities and deep routed religious and caste systems in our country. From how different institutions are completely controlled by the system to how the freedom of the press is curbed, From the problems of minorities face everyday even at their workplaces to how people are being framed as terrorists, were all shown with such audacity.
The story takes us to eastern part of Delhi, where a desperate cop, ACP Hathi Ram Choudhari, is handed the case of his lifetime when four suspects are arrested for the assassination attempt of a renowned journalist. He soon realizes the deep maze he is being thrown into, while in pursuit for the history of each of his victims, one of them is Vishal Tyagi who has committed 45 murders through out his life.
“We used to be heroes, people like us. But then something about this country changed. Now we get trolled, killed,.. Fired!!” when journalist Sanjeev Mehra says this to his collegue Sarah we know what’s in store for us. There was this another scene were Sanjeev Mehra says ” We liberals are such a cliche, to make a human story all we need is a muslim criminal or an LGBT character”. Even though he says it as a joke, “Paatal Lok” surely explores the realities behind those cliches. When his assistant Ansari misses a golden chance to catch someone who could have been a worthy lead in the investigation, Mr. Chaudhari shouts at him, but was quick to support him when he overhears the other colleagues saying “This is bound to happen when you send one muslim to catch another”. The entire series is filled with similar daring scenes and dialogues. It portrays the hunger for political power, how an opposing voice is suppressed, how media is silenced, how minorities are treated and even framed in certain cases, how fake news are created, and how the poor are sidelined with such boldness and realistic approach. We are taken into the ugliness of the third world ‘Paatal Lok’ and raw violence becomes an integral part of this. There were some really disturbing scenes, one such scene was when Vishal Tyagi breaks the skull of three students with a hammer. Amidst all the socio-political conflicts, women and children are often forgotten at home, the parallel tracks of Sanjeev Mehra’s wife Dolly and Chaudhari’s son Sidharth for example.
The narration is pacy to the likeness of most of its viewers. The investigation procedures and the pursuit for evidences are slickly edited and you won’t have time to move your eyes away even for a moment. The tension and anxiety it builds through out each episodes is boundless. The mysterious character “Master Ji” for example is mentioned often, but he remains a mystery for the viewer just the same as for most of the characters in the story. The reference of dogs often comes in between the story and are often used to give a symbolic angle to the story line. When you hear Savitri as a dog’s name is surely funny but the climax will surely blow your mind when you learn the importance of it.
Paatal Lok is an extremely well acted series and each and every character has their own identity. Jaydeep Ahlawat as Inspector Hathi Ram Chaudhari gives us a towering performance and never hits a false note through out. Abhishek Banerjee was enormous in his negative role as Vishal Tyagi aka Hathodi Tyagi and could cause you nightmares. Sanjeev Mehra is safe in the hands of Neeraj Kabi. Actors Ishwant Singh(Ansari), Niharika Lyra Dutt(Sarah), Swastika Mukherjee(Dolly), Mairembam Ronaldo Singh(Mary Lingdoh) and other supporting actors have all made their presence felt. We have to laud the slick editing, direction and the visuals and the color tone, but when I scrolled through the cast and screw, the producer name surely was a striking one. Anushka Sharma needs a standing ovation for funding such a series which is surely going to make a lot of people “unhappy”.
To conclude, Paatal Lok becomes mirror image of prevailing socio-political atmosphere in India. It takes on the unpleasant truths in our society such as bigotry, partiality towards Muslims, caste system, and fake news factories. When you notice the efforts of certain group of people to mass degrade this series in IMDB and different social media platforms, you know it has struck them right where it wanted to be. But in reality, this is a monumental effort and will take Indian television series to new heights!!