oppn parties Paatal Lok: A Riveting Series With Great Performances

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  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
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Paatal Lok: A Riveting Series With Great Performances

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2020-05-18 22:33:58

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

It came without much hype but hypnotized the viewers with its taut storyline and amazing performances. Yes, I am talking about Prime Video's new show Paatal Lok. All of us have seen many crime thrillers in the recent past. Series like Specials Ops, Hostages, Delhi Crime, Criminal Justice and Sacred Games were all top-notch. But Pataal Lok, with its focus primarily on the case at hand, does not digress into unnecessary sub-plots and holds viewer attention throughout. Although it has an egoistic TV editor, an anxiety-ridden wife in love with dogs, a Maoist-type gangster, a Muslim policemen who is discriminated against for his religion but who is on the verge of becoming an IPS officer, a son who hates his father and a girl trapped in a boy's body, these are woven into the story with such finesse that the viewer is never bored.

Inspector Hathiram Choudhary, played superbly by Jaideep Ahlawat, is considered a loser in the police force. His friend who once trained under him is now his boss as the SHO in the police station. When the other inspector is on leave, he gets a high profile case as the DCP thinks he will not solve it. But Hathiram has to prove himself as he tells his wife "aadhi zindagi baap ki ankhon mein dekha ki uska beta ch**** hai, ab baki ki zindagi bete ki ankhon mein nahin dekhna chahta ki uska baap ch**** hai." He follows all leads diligently and uncovers a plot that goes far beyond his brief. His journey, which he undertakes even after being suspended, is filled with gangsters and the twisted politics of rural India across several states and it makes for a riveting watch, especially with Ahlawat in full flow. He does not miss a single cue and gives an astonishing performance as the harried cop who wants to redeem himself.

The plot is simple to start with. Four persons are arrested just before they could commit a murder. The investigation is handed over to Hathiram Choudhary as the area falls under the jurisdiction of his police station. But when he starts investigating the case, it takes him deep into the world of both the rich and the powerful as well as rural gang lords, men who take to crime by accident and a maniacal killer who avenges the rape of his sisters by killing the rapist with a blow of the hammer on their heads, earning the title hathoda Tyagi. In comes a mysterious Masterji, a cross between a Maoists leader and a gangster and politicians. Illicit affairs, machinations in the corridors of the television channels and political string-pulling follow. Hathiram uncovers a plot that goes far beyond a murder.

Apart from the excellent technical team, the series is made livelier by its cast. Gul Panag as Hathiram's wife, in a de-glam role, puts in an inspired performance. Neeraj Kabi as the channel editor is simply outstanding and so is Swastika Mukherjee as his dog-loving wife who has bouts of anxiety. But the surprise package is Abhishek Banerjee as Vishal 'Hathoda' Tyagi. Although a good actor, his silent and maniacal killer who comes to life either when he has a hammer in his hand or when someone does something bad to dogs is simply an amazing act. Watch the series and I am sure it will turn out to be a big, binge watch for you.