Web Series: Panchayat 2
Cast: Jitendra Kumar, Raghubir Yadav, Neena Gupta, Faisal Malik, Chandan Roy, Saanvika and others
Director: Deepak Kumar Mishra
OTT Platform: Amazon Prime Video
Rating: 3.5 Moons
The Panchayat has been set up in Phulera once again. After the unprecedented success of Panchayat season 1, the stakes were high for TVF and fortunately, they do not let you down. Retaining the original essence- innocence, relatability and humour, director Deepak Kumar Mishra infuses flavours of melancholy, grief and politics.
Panchayat 2 takes place immediately after the events that took place in the first season and gives a seamless glimpse into the lives of Sachiv Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar), Pradhan Manju Devi (Neena Gupta), Pradhan Pati Brij Bhushan Dubey (Raghubir Yadav), Prahlad Pandey (Faisal Malik) and Vikas (Chandan Roy).
Abhishek has surrendered himself to the village life yet wishes for a luxurious, high-income job in the city. While he tries to study for a competitive exam, he is burdened with petty village problems which include arranging proper sanitation facilities, installing CCTV cameras and even solving problems faced by Rinki (Saanvika) in her personal life.
Rinki, the young and 'marriageable' daughter of Manju Devi and Brij Bhushan Dubey, is the centre of attraction. The director wishes to focus on Abhishek's love life and this never gets too gimmicky or loud. While the story of Panchayat 2 is simple, the emotions highlighted are complex and relatable.
Panchayat 2 never comes across as a fictional story. The characters seem familiar and the situations look real. This is an achievement. Why? When the world is celebrating larger-than-life male heroes, the series celebrates the simpler pleasures of life. The men of Phulera have insecurities, whereas women are headstrong. From ego clashes between neighbours, and local politics to love blossoming gradually between a young girl and boy, haven't we seen all of this in our daily lives?
Aspects like humour, emotions, politics, family values, friendship, love and bitter-sweet banters are in full attendance in this panchayat. However, despite getting almost everything right, Panchayat 2 feels dragged at regular intervals. Especially, in the initial few episodes. Humour also remains absent and picks up only after the 4th episode. While the first season was light-hearted and easy-going, the second is more serious. The emotions get complex and tense. But this flavour also has its own beauty.
Undoubtedly, Jitendra Kumar, Raghubir Yadav and Neena Gupta get prominence in Panchayat 2. But personally speaking, Faisal Malik, who plays Prahlad Pandey, stole my heart and attention. His performance grows on you. He can be called the emotional and driving force behind this season. Without giving away any spoilers, all I can say is Panchayat 2 is worth watching majorly because of Faisal and his act in the final episode.
Jitendra once again gives a brilliant performance. Subdued, perfect and enjoyable. Does an Abhishek reside in us? Well, it definitely feels he does. Neena Gupta gets less screen space as compared to the first season but that doesn't stop her from giving her best. Raghubir Yadav is fantastic as always. His friendship with Abhishek, Prahlad and Vikas will remind you of your buddies. Neena and Raghubir's scenes together are beautifully executed.
The surprise package of Panchayat 2 is Saanvika, who shines throughout as Rinki. I would love to see more of her in the third season (yes, it is coming!). Chandan Roy nails it as Vikas. Durgesh Kumar as Neena and Raghubir's neighbour Bhushan is funny and likeable. Sunita Rajawar is good too but doesn't get to do much. Satish Ray as Jitendra's friend provides a nice comic relief. Pankaj Jha, who plays MLA Chandrakishore Singh, will make you sit up and take notice of his work.
Panchayat season 1 scored high on novelty and uniqueness. As expected, the novelty doesn't remain intact. It gets replaced, rightfully, by stronger feelings, complex relationships, emotions and an unexpected emotionally haunting climax.
Without a second thought, go watch Panchayat 2 now!