Paatal Lok Review: An Ode to the Regional Language Headline

Paatal Lok is the latest home-small-town flavor webseries to hit Amazon Prime. This time, Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Productionz brings us this crime/thriller fest. The series stars Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi,  Gul Panag, Abhishek Banerjee, Swastika Mukherjee, Anindita Bose, Vipin Sharma and others. Here’s our review of Paatal Lok, the Amazon Prime web series.

Paatal Lok synopsis:

Haathi Ram Chaudhary is a down and out cop who doesn’t command respect from anyone, except from a rookie cop. He  is suddenly the centre of media attention. He arrests four individuals on the charges of conspiracy to murder. The victim? Sanjeev Mehra, a fiery news anchor who’s routinely accused of being anti-Government.

The arrest is not that easy though. It’s actually a collar of the higher ups. Haathi gets the investigation only because they caught the criminals in his jurisdiction.   As Haathi investigates, he unravels a conspiracy that threatens to change he very fabric of the system and the country that he serves.

Paatal Lok review:

Years ago, when I was at a drink up meeting of hardcore journalists, the discussion veered towards stories that the regional newspapers got, and how they came across as absolute balderdash. But on closer investigation, the cases come out to be true. We have all read these headlines, dog bites man, man bites dog, dog dies, these kind of headlines. Of course, we forgot the discussion the next day.

However,  newer content creators are looking at everything that makes India, India and these headlines definitely fit the bill. To put in a nutshell, the concept of Paatal Lok is absurdly amusing, for anyone who has been following the occurences in this country, and that will be the driving force. Its not for nothing that one of the characters who help Haati Ram Singh crack the case is a regional language journalist.

Once you get that out of the way, Paatal Lok doesn’t have anything new to offer. Its the same tired story of  David and Goliath.  The four writers do their best with the now-predictable story that has politicians, political muscle, police men and the hoi polloi all as important characters.

The Amazon Prime webseries has another issue. The concept is quite lowbrow, absurd, but it did require a screenplay that comes across as completely unrelated or unwanted details. It all makes sense when you are at the penultimate episode. In the era of Twitter reviews, I wonder if the audiences will wait around for so long.

Watch Trailer:

In such a scenario, what leaves a bitter taste is when the writers try to flirt with mythology and forcefully add it to the storyline. In fact, the mythology that they aspire to follow is one of the most complicated ones. And Paatal Lok doesn’t come with the DNA to indulge in something like this. So, there’s a predictable end to that one.

What stuns you though, is how Bollywood has ignored such a fine actor like Jaideep Ahlawat, who is the triumvirate of this story, the brains, the brawn and the soul.  Jaideep does an excellent job of exposing the human side of an investigating officer, even if his character is burdened with the same old story of a son who’s ashamed of his father and such.  Neeraj Kabi, who gets a relatively smaller screentime does an excellent job of playing a character of a pokerfaced chameleon.

I can’t help but compare this Gul Panag’s performance to her’s in Manorama 6 Feet Under, and the dear woman comes out trumps this time as well.  Very less screen time, but she does a good job as well.

In a Nutshell:

Paatal Lok is a slowburn, and the end result isn’t for everyone.

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About Roy D'Silva 483 Articles
Roy D'Silva loves nicely made horror films,books and series. He has spent a lifetime covering various entertainment beats and has finally found his calling covering the paranormal/supernatural/horror fiction beat.