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‘Panchayat’ movie review 3.5/5: Sly, Quirky & Desi Laughter

Review of PANCHAYAT is here. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the web series created by TVF (The Viral Fever) stars Jitendra Kumar

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Review of PANCHAYAT is here. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the web series created by TVF (The Viral Fever) stars Jitendra Kumar, Raghubir Yadav & Neena Gupta in pivotal roles. The series is directed by Deepak Kumar Mishra.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
What happens when Mohan Bharghav from SWADESH lands in a village of Sharad Joshi?. A sly, quirky & healthy desi panchayat (debate, discussion) is formed.

Deepak Kumar Mishra’s PANCHAYAT streaming during this lockdown period due to the Covid – 19 Corona scare, is an option that is a gunj (recall) of those MALGUDI DAYS on Doordarshan that went lapata (lost).

The Story of PANCHAYAT

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Abhishek not Abhisek (Jitendra Kumar) is the new Secretary in the panchayat of Phulera village in Uttar Pradesh. A job that Abhishek never wanted but his majboori (helplessness) has forced him to do so.

The MBA aspirant who needs to score in the CAT to ensure a fat six figure pay check is constantly motivated by his friend (Biswapati Sarkar) by calling it as an opportunity to become Mohan Bhargav (Shah Rukh Khan’s character in SWADES) and take it as a rare experience in life that can help him learning new skills at ground level.

The opening day of his job turns into a nightmare. The sarpanch is Manju Devi (Neena Gupta), but she is reduced to do household duties while her husband, Brij Bhushan (Raghubir Yadav) is the unofficial sarpanch – sarpanch pati.

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Abhishek reaches the panchayat office in Phulera and in a comedy of errors; Brij Bhushan loses the key of the office during his daily routine of clearing the ‘system’ (poo). Aisa nahi hai ki ghar mein shauchalay nahin hai. Do do tho hai. Lekin khet mein chale jaate hain to ghoomna ka ghoomna ho jaata hai aur systemo saaf ho jaata hai (we have two toilets but due to this exercise, I complete my walk and also my system gets cleared).

The lock can’t be broken because it belongs to Manju Devi. The locksmith meets with an accident and finally in the zest to break the lock, Abhishek’s assistant Vikas (Chandan Roy) breaks the door. Abhishek’s workplace doubles up as his home and the village faces power cuts.

But this is just a beginning, how Abhishek adapts to the condition and how his tenure becomes a journey of self discovery that underlines the human emotions under challenging conditions, forms the crux of this web series.

PANCHAYAT web series review

Written by Chandan Kumar and directed by Deepak Kumar Mishra, the first season of PANCHAYAT immediately puts a smile o your face right from frame one and continues to chuckle you with sly giggles every now and then. The characters are properly structured, relatable and they behave rationally. Each episode from the 8 episode series is an interesting study that showcases how Abhishek finds himself in a soup and how he manages to turn tides in his favour. The solar light episode, the wedding, the ghost tree are just a few examples.

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If anyone is getting the impression that Abhishek will reform the village and bring an upbringing then you are mistaken. Yes there is a mention of the MGNREGA scheme in the beginning but there is a hilariously quirky street fight that goes insanely OTT as well. The humour in realty and its uncertainties are the major highlights of PANCHAYAT. The reality mocks at the fantasy and its sheer delight – The Akshay Kumar Aaarav episode for example.

Performances are of highest orders here.

Jitendra Kumar is superb taking the amazing work from SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN further. Raghubir Yadav is a delight to watch as always.

Neena Gupta gets more and more strong during the later episodes and it seems the next season will focus more on her.

Both the allies of Brij and Abhishek – Prahlad (Faisal Malik) and Vikas (Chandan Roy) respectively work as fuel to the engine. The ending of the final episode however is not that illuminating.

Final words

At times during the lockdown due to the deadly Corona Covid – 19 scare, Doordarshan has released its pure gold materials – RAMAYANA, MAHABHRATA, plus other germs. There is no epic/story bigger than RAMAYANA, MAHABHRATA in the world

On the other hand, Prime Video is streaming a sly, quirky, desi fun called PANCHAYAT. This gem reminds us the days when Doordarshan ruled with gems one after another like MALGUDI DAYS, LAPATAGANJ, KAKKAJI KAHIN, etc. etc.

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