Paatal Lok Review

Ehraz Asmad Zaman
  • 4.5/5
A terrific show that makes for a thrilling watch

Weaving politics in a show can be a tricky thing because more often than not, creators get so caught up in stuffing politics into their stories that they completely forget to work on the story or characters which can make the show very bland and deaf-toned. This is why Paatal Lok is such a refreshing series which not only reflects the political state of the nation but also weaves a compelling and thrilling narrative that never becomes tiring. Paatal Lok on its surface is a compelling investigative thriller that rises above the mediocre narrative tropes and gives us compelling characters and world-building. It is when you are ready to see through the façade, that the show presents its true politics and reflects the sorry state in which we are living. Caste, class, gender, violence are all some of the major themes of the show and forms the major chunk of the show’s conflict.

Paatal Lok, created by Sudip Sharma, borrows its scathing and bleak narrative from David Fincher and Indianize it in a very clever yet subdued manner, never revealing more than what’s needed. This elevates the experience of watching the show. Paatal Lok follows Hathiram Choudhary, who has been allotted a high-profile case, which involves scary criminals and petty politicians. As Hathiram starts digging more and more into the case along with his sub-inspector, Imran Ansari, the plot thickens and deeply buried secrets start pouring out. Paatal Lok has been written over four years which reflects in the form of various details that the show wears on its sleeve. The show presents an India that is being eaten alive by a selected few who are thirsty to exploit it in every form. Politicians, elites, senior officers, age-old traditions, are all part of the game and reflect the immorality that runs in the veins of India.

Paatal Lok has been directed by Prosit Roy in collaboration with Avinash Arun. Both have done an exceptional job in creating a gripping tale full of unforeseen twists and turns. Jaideep Ahlawat, who plays the foul-mouthed Policeman named Hathiram Chaudhary, delivers a career-defining performance. From his dialect to body language, to his expressions, everything is pitch-perfect. The rest of the cast is also on top of their game. Gul Panag, Ishwak Singh, Neeraj Kabi, Swastika Mukherjee, and Abhishek Banerjee all appear in leading roles and have delivered great performances which makes the show to have one of the best ensembles acting ever. Paatal Lok is a rare gem of a show that deserves to be celebrated in the way it merges politics with compelling storytelling.