Show: Paatal Lok
Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Abhishek Banerjee, Gul Panag, Swastika Mukherjee, Ishwak Singh, Mairembam Ronaldo Singh, Niharika Lyra Dutt
Directors: Avinash Arun, Prosit Roy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Coronavirus pandemic has taken away a lot from the moviegoers. There was a sheer pleasure of watching movies on the big screen till two months ago, but now the movies are only releasing on OTT platforms. From this, we can say that competition has increased. Crime thrillers have always been a favourite genre for the audience on OTT as the makers can go all out to show the raw and rustic side of the crime world. With each passing day, a new show is dropped on the OTT, and today is no less as Amazon Prime Video's latest Paatal Lok produced by Anushka Sharma accustoms you to three Lok's namely Swarg Lok, Dharti Lok and Paatak Lok. A riveting crime thriller starring Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Abhishek Banerjee and Gul Panag in the lead roles takes you inside the world of heinous crimes and you are left with one important question whether to hate these criminals or give them the benefit of doubt.
While shows like Sacred Games and Mirzapur relied on sudden chills, Paatal Lok is the mirror to our society, its what Indian 2020 is sans coronavirus outbreak. It has everything from crime, to politics to bureaucrats taking the reins in their hand. The realities seep in right from the first frame, comprising of 9 episodes of 45 minutes each Paatal Lok will leave you at a cliff-hanger. Comprising of a strong ensemble the show is a must-watch. Byt don't compare it with other shows like Mirzapur and Sacred Games, there is much more in Paatak Lok than mere guns shots and crime.
The story begins with Inspector Hathi Ram Chaudhary (Jaideep Ahlawat) explaining what Pataal Lok is to inspector Ansari (Iswak Singh). Choudhary introduces us to three worlds that is Swarg Lok, Dharti Lok and Paatal Lok. While he is narrating all this to Ansari he comes across four goons fighting on the streets of Delhi after committing a heinous crime. Choudhary then gets hold of them and puts them behind the bars. Thereon the story begins. Inspector Hathiram starts his investigation against the four leads, while his search is on he gets to know that the main motive of these goons was to kill Sanjeev Mehra (Niraj Kabi) an eminent editor of a news agency because he had ruined a political career of a renowned politician and the hoons have been sent by the party member.
In these nine episodes, the directors of Paatal Lok Avinash Arun Dhawre and Prosit Roy (Pari) and writer Sudip Sharma (NH10, Udta Punjab) take you through everything that India 2020 is dealing with. From showing the politics of the country to how bureaucrats tale over journalism.The plight of news stories, power, manipulation, communal history, riots, mob lynching and everything under the sun that you must have read in the newspapers, seen in news channels.
Paatal Lok may not have the biggest of names to run the series but certainly has a solid ensemble. Jaideep Ahlawat as the inspector is dominating the series and each frame that he appears in he brings to the table the realities that police force go through. While Abhishek Banerjee as Vishal Hathoda Tyagi is the antagonist in the show. He is so powerful and convincing that you will love to hate him. Neeraj Kabi, as a renowned powerful anchor Sanjeev shows the plight of journalism in our country with such conviction that we will surely relate to it.
Gul Panag is a delight to see on screen as the wife of Hathiram. Her character gets layered with time and the issues she deals with is what most of the wives in Indian societies would relate to.
Ishwak Singh as the right hand to Jaideep is not lost between such powerful actors. He comes as a surprise package in the series and with each passing episode, you wil understand how layered his character is.
Swastika Mukherjee, Vipin Sharma, Jagjeet Sandhu, Niharika Lyra Dutt, Aasif Khana all play their part very well.
The characters in the series, are relatable in this era. For instance, if your life is in Swarg LOk, you will find a known in Neeraj Kabi and Swastika Mukherjee. If you are a resident of Dharti Lok, Gul Panag and Jaideep Ahlawat's middle-class home, their tussles with their teenage son and the brother-in-law will appear familiar.
In Paatal Lok, you show introduced to dreaded murderer Vishal Tyagi (Abhishek Banerjee) he is flawless. Like others, he too has a back story and there is a reason why has turned hostile. The makers have made the narrative as real and raw as possible None of it looks forced into the runtime of the series. The crisp editing makes you hang on to every scene in the series, with each episode you are compelled to click on the next. The beauty of the series lies in the performance of each of the actors. There are certain emotional scenes where your heart goes out for the protagonists. It's shot in the bylanes of Punjab and newsrooms.
The show is strictly not for weak-hearted. It's brutal, there are certain scenes that will rip you apart, you might just want to skip it. There are cuss words, there is bloodshed. Its meant for crime thriller lovers only. some of them have also started comparing it to sacred games just because it takes you to the lives of the underworld, but there is much much more to it.
Produced by Anushka Sharma Paatal Lok shows us the mirror to the society we are living in. Tere are questions that are left unanswered and we are left with asking for more. With such a powerful cast and gripping storyline, we wish season 2 happens soon. Take a bow team Paatal Lok!