Updated: August 09, 2020 19:02 IST
Rating : 4/5
Paatal Lok is the story of a tired Delhi cop Hathiram Chaudary played by Jaideep Ahlawat as he finds himself in the middle of a high profile attempted murder case. In his path to finding the real culprits he finds himself tangled in the mess of media and politics like never before.
Paatal Lok is the story of the cop Hathiram Chaudary, media man Sanjeev Mehra ( Neeraj Kabi), and Vishal Tyagi aka Hathora Tyagi ( Abhishek Banerjee). When Mehra finds his life in threat due to an attempted murder it is up to Chaudhary to charge the criminals appropriately. However, the cop soon finds himself in the midst of a criminal conspiracy and the prejudices of the Indian media and people.
Paatal Lok's immense success immediately after its release can be credited a large part to its cast and crew. Unlike Sacred Games which is a similar show, Paatal Lok does not star anyone like Saif Ali Khan for the star value. Instead in Jaideep Ahlawat's portrayal of a defeated Delhi cop, the viewer empathizes with his personal life and relationship with his subordinates, and his wife and kids. It isn't just Ahlawat alone who gives a fantastic performance. Neeraj Kabi plays Sanjeev Mehra who quickly becomes intentionally annoying and unlikeable. On the other hand, the psychotic Hathora Tyagi played by Abhishek Banerjee leaves goosebumps every time he is on the screen. Last but not least Niharika Dutt who plays a media officer under Sanjeev Mehra is a fresh face representing the ethics of Indian media and does a fantastic job at it.
Paatal Lok isn't just full of stellar performances but also by an articulate direction and well thought out story. The show is shot over 110 locations but the crew has managed to make it all look realistic and gripping. On top of an engaging crime thriller, Paatal Lok touches upon the personal lives of police officers and even allows the viewer to emphasize with some of the criminals. The show also finds its own direction in choosing to show the issues faced by the Muslim community in India as well as by other underprivileged class structures.
Paatal Lok does many things right but of course, it has its flaws. In Ishwak Singh's portrayal of Imran Ansari, the show sometimes romanticizes its only Muslim character. The show is also full of casteist slurs even if to make it a bit more realistic and crass and many might find it offensive. The show is also not made for anyone who cannot deal with gore and a lot of it in bits and pieces.
If you previously enjoyed shows like Sacred Games Paatal Lok is just right for you if not a step ahead. Paatal Lok is worth giving a watch for its star cast alone. In its critique of modern Indian media and its ethics, Paatal Lok is also highly relevant in the country at the moment with all the fake news that has taken over so many lives.