‘Paatal Lok’ Review

‘Paatal Lok’ is a complex, layered, multidimensional, and hard-hitting political saga of greed, ambition, degradation of values and redemption. This is an adaptation of the defamed journalist Tarun Tejpal’s book ‘The Story of My Assassins’ but the creators nowhere in the show mention his name, maybe because he has been charged for sexually assaulting a colleague. The show explores the dark sides of human nature and forays into a world hitherto kept away from the Indian viewers considering them immature to face the truth and live in a utopian world. It explicitly demonstrates the state of affairs of right-wing activism, the hypocrisy of the left-liberals, and the status of the machinery controlled by the state. From the degradation of values on the world of journalism over the last decade or so to the way how minorities are treated in this country to how we fail to empathize with the LGBT community, ‘Patal Lok’ is a dark commentary about every bleak side of a country torn between lofty ideals and nasty realities. How an institution like CBI makes a mockery of investigation under pressure from those in power and use the clichéd weapon of ISI, terrorism to shield the criminals adorned with portfolios, respect and luxury to an extent of vulgarity have been depicted with sheer truthfulness sans any emotions otherwise banal in the hotchpotch of a Bollywood potboiler. There are violence, gore, real-life obscenities to an extent that you may look away from the screen. But this is it, guys. Welcome to the real world.

The script by Sudip Sharma is gripping and even though I sat with a microscope to find an error, it was hard to find any. All the loose ends have been filled in with fitting conclusions. The dialogue right from the start is the hallmark of the show. “It is written in the scriptures but I have read it in WhatsApp” epitomizes the present generation intolerance and fake news manufacturing without any proficiency or penchant for factuality. Do not miss a single dialogue of the entire show as it is laden with such brilliant one-liners. The Director duo of Prosit Roy and Avinash Arun does a marvelous job of harmonizing conflicting ideas and bringing those under a slick narrative.

“Paatal Lok” gifts us one of the most promising actors of recent times, Jaideep Ahlawat who finally bags a role that matches his acting stature. He is the protagonist and the world is shown through his eyes. He is often torn between his professional and personal turmoil and ends up being a loser in front of everyone, his family, co-worker, bosses, and society. How an ordinary cop with a conscience faces hardships every day and yet ends up gaining the worthless guy tag has been portrayed so efficiently through Jaideep’s character Hathi Ram Chaudhary. Finally Indian movie makers have learned to show the vulnerabilities of the police minus the imaginary glamour shown in the third grade Bollywood movies like Singham or Dabaang. Neeraj Kabi as the shrewd journalist who is living a dual life- a life of falsehood in the realms of mundanity and a life of the fake ideologies of a liberal champion in front of the camera is restrained and genuine to the script. Abhishek Banerjee as the fearsome Hammer Tyagi steals the show with his bleak, ice-cold expressions. Every other character has done justice to their roles however minute those are. The review will be incomplete without talking about the sincerity of Ishwak Singh as the amiable cop and IPS aspirant Ansari and Swastika Mukherjee as the dog loving, soft spoken spouse of journalist Sanjeev Mehra. Practically every dark character in the movie has some bright sides in their characters and every so called righteous characters have their side of vulnerabilities. It is this balance that strikes the cord in this gruesome show of greed, lust and inner pathos.

Finally, a big salute to Bollywood’s glam doll Anushka Sharma for taking a path less trodden. From NH10 to Pari, from Philauri to Paatal Lok, she is doing an appreciable job of bringing raw yet immensely talented crew together as a producer. The saffron brigade has already shunned Deepika. Now they are slamming Patal Lok as a Hindu-phobic work. How far will they go is now a matter of conjecture as Anushka’s name is related with the biggest vote bank of the country – Virat Kohli.
My rating- 9 out of 10
Available on Amazon Prime

News Reporter

1 thought on “‘Paatal Lok’ Review

  1. Atfirst I thought it as some paranormal webseries on Amazon prime because I have not read the trivia under it.But after your review I am feeling very interested to see the series and must watch.Actually I am not bingewatcher but set my limit of amusement to only 30 minutes per day.

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