Paatal Lok, premiered on Amazon Prime on this May, is a crime thriller web series. Against the backdrop of crime, journalism and policing, the series tells the story of different classes in the society, writes Riasat Raihan
PAATAL Lok (Underworld) is a crime thriller web series, consisting of nine episodes, loosely based on Indian writer Tarun Tejpal’s critically acclaimed novel The Story of My Assassins. It is an Amazon Prime original series which was premiered on May 15, 2020.
When it comes to content, especially, on a streaming platform like Netflix and Amazon Prime, many shows from India have attracted a large portion of audiences around the world. The show, Paatal Lok, is terrifying and absolutely amazing. The show is made as an investigative thriller. I was very excited and anticipated when I first saw the teaser of the show because it looked very cool and intriguing.
The series is centred around four people who would be charged for a conspiracy of murder targeting Sanjeev Mehra played by Neeraj Kabi who is one of the most high-profile journalists of a television news channel in the country. The series kicks in when the protagonist of the show Hathiram Chaudhary, played by extremely talented Jaideep Ahlawat, is told to take over the conspiracy case.
Hathiram is a mid-ranked police officer who has been in service for 15 years and yet to make a mark in his department. He takes the case as the case of his lifetime to prove his worth to his own people. You will find several references of Indian mythology which enhanced the quality of the series during its cat and mouse chase. Hathiram is helped by his junior officer Ansari and together they try to unfold the motives of the four assassins.
The series is produced by Indian actress Anushka Sharma under her own production house Clean State Filmz. All the nine episodes of the series have been written by Sudip Sharma who is known for his other critically acclaimed works such as NH10 and Udta Punjab. The show has been directed by two talented directors. One is Avinash Arun who made a film called Killa which won the National Film award, and other one is Prosit Roy, who made the horror movie Pari starring Anuskha Sharma as the lead.
I have to say, the team behind the camera are full of talent and their collective work have created blasts on the screen. The technical aspects of the film are quite perfect. Every episode showcases a sense of realism. Despite minor issues, I was mind blown by the effective storytelling of this show.
After you start watching the series, you may or may not think that the series is also about the political situation in India and also about journalism. I want you to say that while watching the series please look beyond of the politics. Because if you do not go beyond of the politics, then the show’s brilliant quality of storytelling, impeccable writing, truth of our vague society and absolutely mind blowing performances would simply vanish from your eyes.
There are several scenes where you will see how cast is being divided among Hindu and Muslim, how conflicts happen because of the cast system and the brutal censorship that exists regarding freedom of expression in our society. I promise you that there are more things than these when it comes to creative things about this series.
Every episode has its own roller coaster ride and it forces you to keep bingeing. As the story goes on, it becomes almost impossible for us to predict the good, bad and ugly. All the characters of the show are detailed to perfection. The directors have done an outstanding job to picturise the thread of outrageous communism in contemporary India. Because of a stellar crew behind the camera, its writing and direction is one of the most brilliant qualities of this web series. Every individual needs to take a bow for their impeccable work. The writers and creators made sure that not only the characters speak to each other but also how several sections of the society actually speak to one another.
In the series we see that the society has been divided into three sections. The first section refers to ‘Swarg Lok’ which means people up in heaven, where powerful and rich people live. The second section refers to ‘Dharti Lok’ which means people on Earth that represents the working class. And the third section refers to ‘Paatal Lok’ which means people in the underworld or hell.
This section represents the underprivileged section of the society. Basically people in the underworld section are described as abusive and menacing who are often ostracised by the people in the upper sections and called them as the devils. By the character of Hathiram, we can see a clear picture of how working class people get swing away between people in heaven and hell.
Jaideep Ahlawat who plays the character of police officer Hathiram, is an actor I really admire after watching his breakthrough performance in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur. In Paatal Lok, he finally gets the chance to show his acting range and he reminds us again how much capable actor he is. His not ending struggle on screen will make you rooting for him throughout the series as he brings certain credibility to his role and does a complete justice to it.
One of the most highlighted points of the series is the performance of one of the assassins Vishal Tyagi played by a casting director Abhishek Banerjee. He has done an amazing portrayal of a psychotic, unbalance, furious gazing killer character and he will surely give you sleepless nights. Other supporting actors also leave a mark on screen with their performances.
In other words, Paatal Lok is totally worthy of your time and money. It will not fail you and it will keep you on the edge of your seat through all the episodes. It is a highly recommended one for the people who would like to have great cinematic experiences in the crime thriller universe.
Riasat Raihan is a member of the New Age Youth team.
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