By Neeraj Nanda
PAATAL LOK (Amazon Prime; 9 episodes; 6 and half hours; starring Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Abhishek Banerjee, Gul Panag in the leading roles, an investigative thriller series created by Sudip Sharma, the writer for Udta Punjab, NH10, produced by Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Filmz)
MELBOURNE, 25 May 2020: An attempt to assassinate a leading Liberal-Left Editor is thwarted by Delhi Police. The investigation into the attempt takes one into the maze of real-life situations encompassing India’s socio-economic fault-lines. Fractured family life, crime-ridden society, faith-phobia, struggling media, overburdened & captive police, corrupt politics, and what not form the building blocks of Executive Producer Anushka Sharma’s take on the current morbid horrors of day to day life. Grisly violence laced with the choicest swearing could put you off but looks real. At the start it is revealed there are three Lok’s (World or Place) – Swarg Lok, Dharti Lok, and Paatal Lok. The production is on the third Lok (Paatal Lok) which is Delhi’s Yamuna Par (Trans Yamuna area), a part of which saw riots only recently.
So, Paatal Lok is where the vice is though all three Lok’s are somehow connected. The serial is bold in the sense it does not hesitate to speak out through its characters. For example, a journalist’s fate can be that of Gauri Lankesh, snakes and politicians never forget, taunting of the minority community and collapsing ‘morality’. The leading negative character’s affection for dogs gives the idea of how complex the human mind is as it cruises through a brutal rough patch. Script, direction, and performances are excellent.
I give it 4 & 1/2 stars out of five.
- The review first appeared in South Asia Time (SAT) Facebook page.