Panchayat (2020) was released on Amazon Prime at the starting of April and this show has made a special place in the hearts of many. Created by TVF, this series is a comedy-drama that follows the life of an engineering graduate named Abhishek(Jeetendra Kumar) who takes up a job in a deserted village named “Phulera” because he couldn’t get placed in a company after college. What follows after that is a journey full of laughter, disappointments, revived hope, and a panorama of Indian villages.
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Here is the list of 3 things which make this series a must-watch:
1. Unique storyline
The storyline is the strongest cog in the wheel of the series. The plot is something different and fresh. The story of a young man exploring the wild-wild East usually has the plot of mishaps. The guy has to go through so many hardships and prejudices or it is about the caste-based or religion-based discrimination which makes the plot grave. The plot in this series is very light and explores villages in a different light. The imperfect characters and weird troubles every day make the plot so very interesting.
It is the story of a simple-guy from the city who has no other choice but to join as a Panchayat secretary in a remote village. What unfolds ahead is a comedy of errors as he sees “dehati” style of life, as we call it.
In an episode, villages have been instructed to write:
“Do bacche hain meethi kheer, usse jyada bavasir”. (two children are sweet dessert, rest are piles)
What follows is a hilarious set of events that show how people deny to let anybody interfere in their reproductive choices, it also shows Neena Gupta showing how producing a lot of children is harmful to a woman. Men only desire of kids but its women who have to bear the brunt.
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2. The cast
Jitendra Kumar is becoming a better actor with every passing day. It was so refreshing to watch Rghubir Yadav after such a long time. In my opinion, he is one of the best actors Bollywood ever had but sadly, he has lesser space as compared to his compatriots. Neena Gupta has got a strong grip over offbeat cinema as a mother who is sensitive yet chaotic. She has started fitting in small-town movie roles and cinema today is focussing largely on small towns. The most surprising package was offered by Vikas played by Chandan Roy. His Bihari accent, natural acting, and carefree presence complemented Jitendra Kumar really well.
I am always so tempted to call Jeetendra Kumar as Jeetu Bhaiya, owing to his role as Jeetu bhaiya in another TVF series, Kota factory. It is also a must-watch, TVF has produced some of the very best TV series in recent years which are real and so grounded.
3. The subplots
If the storyline is the king of Panchayat, then its subplots are the princes of the TV series. The subplots have been beautifully entwined with the main plot in a way that it complements the original plot and yet has an identity of its own. Each subplot has a sense of learning but its not too preachy and doesn’t go over-the-board in showing the eradication. It keeps the subplots light-hearted despite handling tough issues like dowry and misogyny.
My favorite one is when Neena Gupta decides to sing the National anthem on her own. Despite being the official pradhan(head) of the village, everything is run by her husband, Raghubir Yadav, impelling the concept of “Pradhan-pati”. That scene has enough feminism that Bollywood couldn’t show in years altogether!
I think we deserved this show in tough times when things are falling apart and we want some humor in it to show us that light can be found with a smile on the face, despite odds being against us. Overall, a unique approach to things.
You should definitely give this web series a try if you haven’t seen it already. You will not regret watching it. It can be watched with the entire family and enjoyed equally by all. In this lockdown, it comes as a ray of hope.
How is your quarantine going?
Read any books? Saw any movie?