By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 26, 2020

Rating: 5 / 5


The Essence: Each and every actor stands out for the character he or she portrays and makes an impact within the episode, even if they have come in for a minute. They form the details of the painting on the canvas as Messrs Arun and Roy effortlessly unravel the picture with their deft directorial strokes.


Caution: Paatal Lok is not for the faint-hearted

Paatal Lok is deliberately dark; even the presentation by way of treatment and lighting on screen. Directors Avinash Arun and Prosit Roy are forcing you to strain your eyes through the images to look for the truth, or rather sift through the muck.

It’s also graphically brutal at times, to the point of making you flinch and turn your head away. Every character is carved out from the masses we see daily. It’s real, with the grime intact.

A treat from every actor…

Each and every actor stands out for the character he or she portrays and makes an impact within the episode, even if they have come in for a minute. They form the details of the painting on the canvas as Messrs Arun and Roy effortlessly unravel the picture with their deft directorial strokes.

By Episode 3 you are intrigued as to how the plot is unfolding as the lives of the four who have been arrested are being probed. Simultaneously, the murky world of power, police, politicians and television journalism is being detailed almost without an effort.

If you have survived the first 3 episodes, with all the gruesome details, you can now safely move through the remaining 6!

You will survive. From the first till the last episode, Paatal Lok is cinematic art at its best. There isn’t a wrong move by the directors, nor the actors. Every frame is crafted painstakingly and joins seamlessly to the other. The series reveals the underbelly of our Capital.

The props, the mood, the moments, the screenplay, the characters, the dialogues, the pauses… everything moves in unison as though real life is unfolding before you. A slice of life series, a delight for lovers of cinema who like theirs dark and brutal, with a mature sense of story-telling. It’s also a subtle mix of Gangs of Wasseypur and brutality of Love Sex Aur Dhoka.

The plot...

Haathi Ram Chaudhary (Jaideep Ahlawat) is a cop with Delhi Police who has spent time in the force watching his juniors rise above him. He is given charge of a case where four suspects are apprehended before they can carry off a hit on a Prime Time Television journalist Sanjeev Mehra (Neeraj Kabi). General elections are round the corner and there are talks of Sanjeev Mehra being asked to resign by the owner of his channel, Singh Saab (Aakash Khurana).

Paatal Lok Series Review
Neeraj Kabi and Swastika Mukherjee in a still from Paatal Lok.

As Haathi Ram takes charge of the case along with his junior, Imran Ansari (Ishwak Singh), leads get leaked to the media and the case is ultimately handed over to the CBI. Haathi Ram is suspended. Not one to give up on the case so easily, and having accumulated enough evidence to understand that the case is not as it appears to be, he puts his life on the line and goes ‘beyond the call of duty’ much to the chagrin of his seniors, to unearth the truth. Meanwhile, Sanjeev Mehra checkmates the owner of his company by negating his move of asking him to resign by presenting a buyer on who he once did a sting operation!

The Performances

Jaideep Ahlawat tears through his role, like the others. His obsession with the case, his troubled past and the amazing love he has for his wife Renu (Gul Panag) and the troubled relationship with his son is fused well into the plot. Ditto the lives and relationships of the four convicts.

Niharika Lyra Dutt, Bodhisattva Sharma and Ishwak Singh leave their mark in Paatal Lok.

Swastika Mukherjee as Dolly, Niharika Lyra Dutt as Sara Mathews, Vipin Sharma as DCP Bhagat, Neeraj Kabi, Abhishek Banerjee as Vishal Tyagi, Anindita Bose as Chanda, Gul Panag, all carve out memorable characters that stay with you long after the final episode. There are so many scenes that ‘wow’ you just for the simplicity in which it has been portrayed and the brilliance with which it has been executed. Lights, sound, props, action, direction, everything is on song here.

Messers Arun and Roy also ensure a backstory for the main characters that explains why they do what they do, especially the four who have been nabbed before they can carry out their hit. Your heart goes out to Cheeni (Mairembam Ronaldo Singh) and the layered love story with Kaalia (Amarjeet Singh).

Bodhisattva Sharma as Siddharth, Haathi Ram’s son, is a talent to watch out for apart from Niharika Lyra Dutt and Ishwak Singh.

If you love slick cinema for its subtle art and if you have the nerve to stomach brutality that makes you flinch at times, Paatal Lok is for you. Apart from the brutality, it also showcases the human flaws, hunger for power and desire to please those in power—willingly or otherwise.

Also Read: Illegal Web Series Review


CREDITS
Producer: Rohit Jayaswal, Saurabh Malhotra, Manoj Mittra, Ravi Sarin, Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma, Sudip Sharma.
Director: Avinash Arun and Prosit Roy.
Star Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Niharika Lyra Dutt, Gul Panag, Swastika Mukherjee.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply