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Web Series Review: Paatal Lok on Prime Video

Web Series Paatal Lok
Season 1
Genre Crime Drama
Languages Hindi
TNS Score 84
Platform Prime Video
Run-Time 40m-45m
No. of Episodes 9
Cast Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Gul Panag
Creator Sudip Sharma

Plot

A down and out cop, Inspector Hathi Ram Chaudhary, gets his hands on the case of a lifetime when four suspects are nabbed in the assassination attempt of a prime-time journalist, Sanjeev Mishra. The case turns out to be a devious maze where nothing is what it looks like. The pursuit of it leads him to the dark netherworld- the ‘Paatal Lok,’ and to shocking discoveries of the past of the four suspects.

Writing

The show has been written brilliantly with all the minute details, summing up in the big whole. When they say, ‘never judge anything by its appearance,’ you’ll know exactly what they mean as you go ahead in this mystery drama, of Pataal Lok. With an accurate title, ‘Pataal Lok,’ which translates into ‘hell,’ we are made to see the ground realities of the world we exist in. It’s almost as if the myth of ‘heaven and hell’ is inspired by this world itself, where the underground world of criminals is nothing better than hell and the upper-class world of those in power, idealizes heaven.

Taking the base of this mythical notion, the story develops in suspense and unimaginable twists, that will keep you hooked till the end. Though it is slightly heavy to absorb in one go, the beauty of it is that it’ll arouse intrigue and excitement by the end of every episode. Every action has a reaction and every character has a history; this is what defines the wholeness of this show. Even though it’s a lot of complex storytelling in the background but the representation is very clean. The complexity of the system that runs the divide has been explained, beautifully. And the end has been given a smooth conclusion followed by a longing for the second season.

Direction

The direction is what gives a film/show, it’s perspective. In this case, the director has been able to give an accurate lens to the story. It’s commendable to note that such intricately woven suspense drama, has been displayed on the screen so smoothly. We see a lot of background story, but still don’t lose track of the story running in the present.

Moreover, since the story is based on the investigation of intended murder, we’re taken from one place to the other, for the simultaneous narratives to unfold. These shifts have been done so brilliantly, that the chaos of the actual story is minimized for the viewers. While depicting chaos on the screen, it becomes important for the director to show it in a way that doesn’t end up confusing the viewer and Pataal Lok has been directed, perfectly well in this case. The milieu established goes aptly with the story running.

Performance

The characterisation is perfectly done. Jaideep Ahlawat’s character of Hathi Ram Chaudhary is just brilliant. He’s specifically done a commendable work while portraying a down-trodden inspector, who can’t let go of the opportunity that he’s got after a whole lifetime of his career.

He must prove himself, not just professionally but also personally. And this shift between professional and personal, the internal and external dilemmas that he goes through, has been expressed beautifully. Furthermore, the character of the journalist, Sanjeev Mishra, played by Neeraj Kabi, is also done well. The way he portrays his character surfaced by all the ambiguities that his field of journalism presents him with is very aptly done. Other characters played by Ishwak Singh, Abhishek Banerjee, Vipin Sharma, etc. have all been well performed.

Reception

The HuffPost India and The Indian Express ranked Paatal Lok as the best Hindi Film/Series of 2020.

Conclusion

There’s absolutely no reason for you to not watch it! The direction, writing, screenplay, performance, and the show in all, fits perfectly in every element for a ‘binge watch.’ It talks about the realities of life in the rawest state possible and that’s the beauty of it. The myth that surrounds your concept of heaven and hell, is depicted in the most convincing way possible. This crime drama is loaded with suspense and action. It also talks about the corruption of the human states and institutions that govern it. So sit back, grab a bucket of popcorns and watch the show, right now!

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