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'Paatal Lok': a journey to hell
With an attempt to compete against the Netflix’s web series ‘Sacred Games’, the ‘Paatal Lok’ which is currently streamed by the Amazon prime is achieving every level.
Directors: Avinash Arun, Prosit Roy
Creator: Sudip Sharma
Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Gul Panag, Ishwak Singh, Abhishek Banerjee, Swastika Mukherjee and Niharika Lyra Dutt
With an attempt to compete against the Netflix's web series 'Sacred Games', the 'Paatal Lok' which is currently streamed by the Amazon prime is achieving every level.
Paatal Lok is a police-based investigative thriller inspired by the traditional concepts of Svarga, Dharti and Paatal (heaven, earth and the hell), as metaphors for the different classes of India and the four estates. Sudip Sharma began writing Paatal Lok at the beginning of 2017.
For Sharma it was his maiden attempt at writing in long-form. The writing team also consisted of Hardik Mehta, Gunjit Chopra, Sagar Haveli who were also beginners in writing a series. He wrote the first and last three episodes, while the remaining five were written by the other writers. All the writers did field research visiting places in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in 2017.
The show has two directors, Prosit Roy and Avinash Arun Dhaware, both directing different portions of the series. The series has been shot in 110 cities in India.
The show gives an insight into various forms of discrimination in India, including dislike against Muslims through the character of Ishwak Singh as Imran Ansari. Religion and caste are also visible in the show. Chinni's story beings out the issues of child abuse and discrimination against transgenders. Hathoda Tyagi's background gives insight into the abysmal state of women safety in rural India.
In a neat depravation of genre tropes, the primary antagonist is captured by Inspector Hathi Ram Chaudhary in the very first episode. But it is only later that the policeman comes to realise that the man he thought was a common hoodlum is. In fact, the infamous serial killer Hathoda Tyagi is named after his weapon of choice.
What unfolds is a classic story, populated by morally reprehensible characters, in a city whose very soul is in need of saving, and corruption that goes all the way to the top.
Executive producer Anushka Sharma, who has fine taste, by the way, hasn't strayed too far from her stable of collaborators.
For Instance, episode 3 is a cracking and deeply disturbing story, set in a Punjab village — an unexpected diversion from the gritty crime drama that the previous two episodes had teased.
When we first see him, the Inspector Hathi Ram Chaudhury gives a rookie a rambling lecture on the irredeemable nature of human beings. The world is divided into three realms, he tells the precocious junior cop Imran Ansari — the 'svarg lok' (heaven), where the gods reside; in the middle there is the 'dharti lok', which is where men like Hathi Ram and Imran live; and at the bottom is the 'paatal lok', the hell from which vermin occasionally escape and wreak havoc above. "Waise toh yeh shastron mein likha tha, par maine WhatsApp pe padha," Hathi Ram puns.
It is an ambitious show, both in terms of its narrative and its themes. The concept of the three realms, meanwhile, serves as a neat metaphor for caste politics. Paatal Lok is an intense exploration of Indian immorality, but also a celebration of our ingenuity. It's a sure-fire success for Amazon Prime.
The web series has received a lot of memes by the netizens as well.
One of the meme shows a combo of three movies and mythological show, 'Ramayan' as Swarg Lok, 'Kabir Singh' as Dharthi Lok and 'Dhol' as Paatal Lok.