When you are creating something without a proper central conflict, there isn’t much there to drive the story forward, and often it happens that the script just lingers on to a particular idea and abandons it midway. Panchayat from TVF is a series that explores such a difficult terrain of screenplay writing. The show has reached a second season, yet it is not following the usual conflict and resolution model. It applies the conflict and resolution model to each of its episodes to do one thing effectively: world-building.
Season 2 of Panchayat has secretary Abhishek Tripathi in a much more relaxed space, and he has accepted the reality that he has to stay in this village for some more time. As the elections are around the corner, some political moves are happening in the village. As a part of that, Bhushan, who got offended by the slogan last time, plans something against the ruling Panchayat. How his annoyance leads to several things is what we witness in season 2 of Panchayat.
What Deepak Kumar Mishra and Chandan Arora have managed to do brilliantly in this series is world-building. When you see these characters in the first episode of the second season, there is this joy of seeing people whom you love. Rural India is relatively unexplored terrain. Having Abhishek Tripathi, who represents the generation from the bigger city, as a narrator/onlooker, helps Panchayat as it subconsciously enables it to give an informative insider perspective. Instead of creating a story, the multiple episodes look at various stories of that Panchayat, and most of the time, the solutions put a smile on our faces.
Jitendra Kumar, as Abhishek Tripathi, places the secretary in a much-blended space. The character is written in a way that his ego and insecurity pop up at regular intervals of time. Raghubir Yadav, as the always concerned Pradhan Ji, is really fun to watch. Neena Gupta’s Pradhan character gets more space and importance this time, and she is also a delight to watch. Faisal Malik as Prahlad had his share of scenes, especially in the last episode. Chandan Roy as Vikas was memorable with that innocent smile. Sanvikaa as Rinky presented her character in a minimal and controlled way, and hopefully, season 3 will have more of her. Durgesh Kumar as Bhushan was another well-etched and performed character.
Chandan Kumar gives the series an anecdotal feel by including new characters in each episode. There is a lovely bit where Abhishek goes with a dancer to the medics, and he asks her whether she likes what she does. The reply is so minimalistic and dramatic that it will make you question your own judgemental perspective. Another episode has a drunkard driver who is dealing with family issues. Another tale is the illiterate man who gets manipulated by Bhushan when the Panchayat officials fail to deliver the promised toilet. They might have given the series a satirical outlook on what happens in the governing bodies of rural India. But the narrative is not desperately making things comical for its sake.
I am a fan of those vintage Sathyan Anthikkad films that used to beautifully establish villages and their characters. Panchayat somewhere gave me the feeling of watching such a world. Even though it is set in a landscape that is not immediately relatable to us, the character of Abhishek Tripathi becomes a solid bridge that connects us with the emotions of the people of Phulera.
Even though it is set in a landscape that is not immediately relatable to us, the character of Abhishek Tripathi becomes a solid bridge that connects us with the emotions of the people of Phulera.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended