Jitendra Kumar, Raghubir Yadav, Neena Gupta, Faisal Mallik, Chandan Roy
Amazon Prime Video
Deepak Kumar Mishra
Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) is an engineering graduate. One would think, half of his battle is won but engineers across India will disagree. While there are those with job placements secured pre-graduation, there are many who are lost and frustrated like our Tripathi ji. His only chance of securing employment is to work in a village as a panchayat Gram Sachiv (Secretary of the office). Reluctantly, he finds himself in a bus to Phulera, hoping to clear his CAT so he can be amongst those who get a high paying job uptown rather than in a village. But the thing about villages is, it never changes, but it can change a lot in you.
For Abhishek taking up the job was easy. Understanding it becomes a whole different ball-game. It is only when he reaches Phulera, does he realise that Manju Devi (Neena Gupta), the panchayat chief, isn’t exactly the chief. She might have been elected as the Pradhan, but the works of the office is handled by the Pradhan Pati (Raghubir Yadav), who in a very literal sense is the Village Pradhan’s husband. Brijbhushan Dubey aka the Pradhan Pati, is the most respected person in the village. And his helpers Pralhad, the deputy Pradhan (Faisal Malik) and Vikas (Gram Sahayak) think the world of him. For Abhishek this blind following gets awkward but anything temporary can be acceptable he figures. After all, once he gives the CAT, who will ever see their faces.
But CAT is a long way away. First he has to deal with hand pumps, stolen computers, haunted trees stories, a moody Manju Devi and what not. But while he is away from home having bottle gourd day in and day out, giving his mother updates about his milk intake, he starts developing a relationship with the same villagers he has been scoffing at. When we see them stand up for each other, share a drink with each other and even fight for each other – you cannot help but smile. There is nothing, absolutely nothing as heartwarming as simplicity.
Aside from story line that leaves the audience feeling warm and gooey in the heart, Panchayat’s strength lies in its cast. Jitendra Kumar should be seen in myriad roles post this one. But it is actors like Raghubir Yadav, Neena Gupta, who have been around for eons and now upping their repertoire with digital content, who need an applause. How these actors have changed the water tides is something worth appreciating. A special mention for Chandan Roy, who was supposed to do a cameo in the series but ended up as a central character. He is endearing. But so is Faisal. Even Deepesh Sumitra Jagdish, who plays a nameless photographer in one episode of the series will bring a smile to you face. Panchayat is not a laugh riot, but towards the end of the first season, it becomes a friend you know, you understand despite its silly, stubborn ways.
Chandan Kumar’s writing is fantastic keeping in with the calibre of the actors he is writing for. Costumes (Priyadarshini Majumdar), Cinematography (Amitabha Singh) and of course the direction by Deepak Kumar Mishra is impeccable. Telling you, not all web series have to be glitz and gore, some are just meant to be loved.