By the time I reached the last episode, I was feeling a trifle sad that it’s ending, and was longing for more. Such an interesting and engrossing show it was.
Web series Panchayat on Prime Video had been trending on Twitter ever since it released on April 3 but for some reason, I just couldn’t watch it. May be because I am not a rural Web series person. Born and brought up in the National Capital, I presser fast-paced stories, based in Metro cities. The languid life of villages is not my cup of coffee.
But then I had watched Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Jitendra Kumar had impressed me. That Kumar was the protagonist in Panchayat ruled in its favour and on a Saturday night, I switched it on.
The story begins in a metro, with the opening scene showing an unhappy Kumar talking to one of his friends about being selected as a Panchayat secretary – his first job with the first posting in a small hamlet named Fulera in district Balia of Uttar Pradesh. He is least interested in going to this village in the middle of nowhere but then doesn’t want to refuse a sarkari naukri too. Upon his friend’s advice, he decides to join and study simultaneously for MBA so that he can get out of this job as soon as possible.
Thereafter, Kumar is called Sachivji throughout the series – the reason why I have even forgotten the name given to that character he portrays. From the time he reaches Fulera on his bike which was loaded atop the bus he took to the village till the last scene wherein he is shown atop the village water tank, there is not a moment when I felt the story going astray. In fact, the effortless acting skills of each of the characters, plus the minute details of village life that the director has paid attention to has ensured that I watched all the eight episodes at one go, through the night. The reason why I went to sleep at 4.30 the next morning!
Not just Kumar, Neena Gupta as the village Pradhan and Raghubir Yadav as Pradhan-Pati excel too. They had to, the seasoned artistes they are. But characters like Bablu-Dablu and the village science teacher leave an impact too as do the sahayak and up-pradhan of the Panchayat.
Panchayat takes you to a village tour, shows its slow-paced life, both its good and not-so-good aspects, but never even once does it fail to impress you. The story has a delicate balance of comedy, drama, pathos and humour. The issue of dowry is also talked about but in a matter-of-fact manner, with no drama attached to it. There is no crime, no wife-beating, no unnecessary dragging of issues. It is a simple and realistic tale of village life.
Kudos to Team Panchayat for leading us to clean and pure content. A must watch for the lovers of healthy entertainment.