Panchayat, a new web series brings us a likeable story from rural India, where a young man without prospects lands up in a village.
Panchayat repeats the lovable UP-ite mother-son casting of Neena Gupta and Jitendra Kumar, whose performances were applauded in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, a recent hit and critically acclaimed Bollywood release.
However, it is Raghubir Yadav, playing the role of the village Pradhan, who steals the show right under everyone’s nose, with his all-knowing eyes, chaste UP dialect, witty remarks, loving and chiding attitude towards his wife and the overall body language of the village patriarch.
The plot revolves around Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) an average engineering graduate, with slim chances of any well-paying or high profile job in his kitty, who reluctantly accepts the post of the Sachiv or Secretary of Phullera village panchayat in Uttar Pradesh.
In the remote village of Phullera, though due to the post being reserved for women in the previous election, the Pradhan or Head happens to be Manju Devi (Neena Gupta), her husband Brij Bhushan Dubey (Raghubir Yadav) is the one who actually dons the hat of the acting Pradhan. He is blindly supported and followed by his Up-pradhan i.e. Deputy Head, Prahalad Pandey (Faisal Malik).
Abhishek’s welcoming team comprises of the aforementioned men and Vikas (Chandan Roy), the office attendant, a relatively smart and trustworthy guy, committed to his job and the well-being of his immediate boss i.e. Abhishek.
As can be expected, during his first year at Phullera, Abhishek comes across the myriad idiosyncrasies of the villagers and gets frustrated with the slow pace of life, loneliness and stark difference in the biological clock, as the entire village goes off to sleep by 7:30 pm and considers 9 am to be late noon.
But mostly, he is disillusioned about his non-happening life. Unlike his city friends, he has no fun times to post or brag about on social media.
To spend his extra time and to fulfill his ambition, he asks his best friend Pradeep (Biswajit Sarkar) to courier him the CAT (entrance examination for MBA) courseware and studies for around four hours everyday after the office hours.
Amidst all the comedy and drama around him, eventually he appears for the CAT examination.
You need to see the series to know the results, his decision thereafter and whether or not something ‘happening’ happens in his life.
Preceded by Uttar Pradesh based series like Mirzapur, Rangbaaz and Bhaukaal, which showcased a high velocity of abuses, criminal activities and dirty politics in UP, thankfully and refreshingly, Panchayat is a far cry from the aforementioned series.
It focuses on the simplicity, illiteracy and the state of general low awareness among the people and the government aids and guidelines issued to combat them. In this Panchayat, no one is a criminal or harbinger of despair and unhappiness.
As mentioned in the beginning, Raghubir Yadav is just perfect in his portrayal of the acting Pradhan and patriarch. In fact, many a times his style of acting and contemplation resembles that of Amitabh Bachchan!
Neena Gupta portrays well the role of hard-working and wise but bossy and illiterate homemaker, who is quite confident of her husband’s wealth and power, but keeps both his generosity and over-confidence in check.
Chandan Roy is a delight to watch in all his earnestness and obedience.
Jitendra Kumar comes across as a decent but disillusioned city guy who generally believes in bottling up and keeping quiet in the face of the ridicule that surrounds him.
The rest of the cast has also performed well. Overall, the casting is quite apt.
The background music is upbeat and interesting. Within the limited given scope, the cinematography is good.
In conclusion, if you love to see comedy and drama that ensues out of the following scenarios:
then Panchayat is your to-watch-out-for series.
Panchayat is also a must-watch for those who enjoy the simple tales of rural India.
No. of Episodes: 8 (Season 1)
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video
Running Time: 25-35 minutes
Writer: Chandan Kumar
Director: Deepak Kumar Mishra
Cast: Raghubir Yadav, Neena Gupta, Jitendra Kumar, Faisal Malik, Chandan Roy, Biswajit Sarkar
Music: Anurag Saikia
Cinematography: Amitabh Singh
First published at author’s blog
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