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Review: Paatal Lok recreates a lot of definations

Paatal Lok is a story about Hathi Ram Choudhary, Delhi Police Inspector. Here we get to see how his family starts to love him inspite of everything. How he starts seeing things differently as he fails at work and at life. If you didn't know that love could coexist with appalling failures and abject losses, here it is. Watch it happen.

17,May
2020

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Here is the show review - Paatal Lok.

 


Love

Here's a middle aged police officer who's an emblem of today's frustrated middle aged government officer folks. Has had a bad childhood, no mum, a dad who would beat him, a wife who's trying to keep him calm and his anger at bay, a son who barely talks because of his near brutal ways. Where's love here? Yet, through the series, a slow uptick happens. In little drips, as we understand the motivations of what drives Hathi Ram Choudhary, Delhi Police Inspector, we get to see how his family starts to love him inspite of everything. How he starts seeing things differently as he fails at work and at life. If you didn't know that love could coexist with appalling failures and abject losses, here it is. Watch it happen.  

Identity

Normally, what do we look up as identity. Name? Gender? Faith? Paatal Lok redefines this completely. A boy doesn't give out his full name because he fears for his life. Yet, he's trapped. Another gives out his full name very dramatically but is still trapped, quite tellingly. Gender attracts, gender repeals, gender intrigues. Gender also brings along a shocking plot twist. 

Faith

Faith is showy but is also a story. Faith leads to discrimination. Faith is also uplifting at certain times. An inspector unable to sleep because of the continuous disco in front of the altar of his bedroom puja shelf. A group of constables looking at a minority sub-inspector pointedly while doing evening puja at a police station. An IAS aspirant telling another that he will get through because the government requires to show that they are giving the minorities a chance. All identities meld. All identities repel. 

Success 

You'd ask what's success? Then, someone would answer that life, happiness, wealth and prosperity is success. In fact, most would say that. Here, it's overturned again and again. A journalist exposes a defence contractor. Then, some years later, they get together and hatch a plan. The journalist succeeds and yet he's losing everything around him. A wife. A love. Respect. And an inspector has been failing all the while and yet he is succeeding slowly but surely. Is success a complete turn of wheel or is success an event? At the end, would a wife hold her husband lovingly or close a door on him to attend to her dogs more lovingly? What is success? Is it even there? As a man falls into a pit of his own making, literally and metaphorically.  

Wisdom

We normally say that an elder has more wisdom. A young boy looks to a locality toughie for wisdom of the street kinds. A young policeman looks at his elder colleague. A woman towards a man when she's anxious. None of them receive anything. But yet, wisdom comes along, in untold little moments, in silent stares and shadowy acts. The story starts with the imparting of wisdom, but with a disclaimer that it's taken from WhatsApp! There's none where you look. There's a lot when you experience. 

Kindness 

You wouldn't expect kindness in a series where a woman in a train perceives that the minority community co-passengers are eating beef and gets them lynched. You shouldn't. But yet, it's there. Little acts of kindness. That keeps the faith in humanity going. A police officer asking his colleague to go and study. Two characters who love Street mongrels more than anything else. A senior police officer not taking action where he could have. 

One could go on. It's that kind of a story. Ideally seen in a stretch. And this is an ideal time too, to do that. There's a lot to dive in to. The current political landscape is held forth unsparingly. The socio-economic portrayal grimly correct. The current churn of the haves and have nots are defined well. 

Image credits: India Today 

In all, it's a treat.  Jaideep Ahlawat does a grand job as Hathi Ram, haunted eyes, battered visage, craggy carry, he reminds me of a certain Bryan Cranston a lot. One is impressed with his colleague officer (Ishwak Singh) too. Swastika Mukherjee pulls off her role as an editor's wife superbly. Another actor who knows silences are precious when you know what to do with them. And there a host of other actors who impress at each turn.

The canvas is huge. Outer Delhi. Lutyens Delhi. Badlands of UP. Chitrakoot in Bundelkhand. Punjab, that's nearly portrayed as the wild west. But the writer Sudip Sharma and Script Consultant Navdeep Singh have it bang on. It's a bit of a derivative of their earlier films as one can see a bit of Sonchiriya, NH10, Pari and Manorama Six feet under here and there. Then the directors do an admirable job of taking this to screen. Writers have come of age. And it shows in the kind of canvas that this story attempts. 

And the producers Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Ssharma, siblings and believers, have the spirit to put their energy to such a story! A resounding clap for the work done.  


Dibyadarshan Das

Author of the Content

Dibyadarshan Das has been a veteran cricket and esports feature writer for some of India's top web portals. You can follow his daily articles on Sportskeeda. He reports, does analysis and a bit of storytelling through his posts.



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