Panchayat: Your Next Quarantine Binge

Quarantine Under the lockdown, time seems to move at a different, slower pace and most of us are making the most of it perusing through a host of shows that numerous online streaming platforms have to offer.

Done swivelling through miles of recommendations yet couldn’t find something that caught your eyes? You’re in luck! TVF’s Panchayat, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video turned to be the darling of the binge-watchers no sooner than it released and appears to be tailor-made for this unpremeditated sojourn.

Here is why Panchayat deserves a spot on your watch-list:

  1. A More Realistic Rendition of Swades
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Unlike Swades‘ Mohan Bhargav, Panchayat Secretary Abhishek Tripathi has no desire to be a superhero for the villagers. He does not jump to rescue villagers but would certainly stand up for what’s right, even if he does so with a fair share of grumbling. But, whatever his driving force is, Tripathi does step up to the task.

  1. A Tale from the Hinterland

Small-town drama from the Hindi hinterland has almost peaked in movies and web-series over the past few years. Yet, a peep deeper and one realises that there are a gazillion stories waiting to be told. They need not be extraordinary, because that’s what life is — finding bliss in the ordinary.

Panchayat is the lore of a small village slowly making its way towards modernization. The creators, whilst not overdramatizing the plot, address the urban-rural divide yet, somehow, don’t let it become the sole focal point.

It is one of the few tales set in a village that have you chuckling at the circumstances rather than having you sad or distressed.

  1. Shared (Millennial) Struggles

Millennials are now past college life and partying. They’re struggling with jobs, dreaming of a better life, and relying on social media validation. And that’s exactly what Abhishek Tripathi struggles with while working at a job he dislikes (of a panchayat secretary in the village), preparing for CAT, and dealing with people he does not understand.

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He knits unattainable desires, fails to achieve them and marinates in self-pity as a hobby.

  1. Witty, Circumstantial Humour

Panchayat‘s strongest suit is the way it uses humour to talk about socially relevant topics. The show touches upon issues Quarantine ranging from dowry to family planning and gender equality. The show, essentially, is about the ordinary concerns and a heart-warming grid of relationships in a small town, lined with cheeky lines and gentle humour.

Bollywood should be taking notes from Indian web series and understand how humour can be churned out of circumstances without resorting to sexism or caricatures. There are moments so naturally crafted into the storyline that leaves you genuinely laughing out loud and that, somehow, feels like the need of the hour.

  1. The Lustrous Quarantine Ensemble

The cast’s lustrous performance is largely what sustains the plot. Had it not been for the wonderful ensemble, this story might have been lost in translation. An innocent Raghubir Yadav portraying ‘pradhan-pati’ Quarantine immediately warms you to his character. Neena Gupta’s portrayal of the village pradhan and Brij Bhushan’s partner leaves you certainly impressed and yearning for more.

Abhishek’s character, portrayed by Jitendra, has an innate cynicism that strikes a balance with Vikas’ (Chandan) earnestness. Quarantine The characters work off each other as much as the cast does and, instead of focusing on the protagonist alone, you’re left rooting for them en masse.

Perhaps finally, we have a web series that is not explosive in its dialogues or has a gory show-reel, but rather a light-hearted, emotional comedy set in a charming in the setting. And that is what makes it special.

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