Panchayat: An Ensemble Cast that Sparks, and a Series You Wish Doesn’t End

Panchayat, a series that seemed un-TVF like in the beginning. Why? The speed. It seemed so slow, and the humor was not really as apparent as the TVF usually do. However, there was a charm in the beginning. By the time the 2nd episode kicked in, the speed was kicking in. The third episode basically sets the tone for you to be so involved in the story of Abhishek Tripathi that you cannot go anywhere. By the time the story ends, you want it to be continuous, like a TV series. Never-ending, perhaps.

What works? The ensemble cast is brilliant. The fact that Neena Gupta (pradhan) is basically playing an extended cameo, and is the most popular of all actors, showcases how rich is its cast. Biswapati Sarkar is in a very special role. There’s Deepak Kumar Mishra for a single scene. Among the regular cast, the TVF’s superstar Jeetu Bhaiya, Jitendra Kumar, is the angry young man Abhishek Tripathi, the panchayat sachiv (secretary). Raghuvir Yadav, can’t tell how beautiful it is to see him perform after long, is the Pradhan-pati. Chandan Roy is the most adorable side-kick in Vikas, the Gram Sahayak. Faisal Malik is deputy pradhan Prahlad Pandey, someone who never does anything but the character is acted so beautifully that you end up liking him.

The story, especially where Biswajit mocks him to create his own Swades, and he angrily mocks him back. It is no swades. Abhishek isn’t happy being where he is, but he is there and trying to find a way out by studying for CAT exams and securing a position in IIM. He doesn’t hide his emotions anyway, whether happy or sad, or angry, as is mostly the case.

The pradhan-pati in Raghuvir Yadav is a calculative politician, who is somewhere a good person deep down. Vikas, the Gram Sahayak, is always with a smile, the punching bag of Abhishek, but happy with his life being newly married. Pradhan, Neena Gupta, mocks her husband all through.

What Doesn’t Work? Perhaps the start, which could lose plenty of audiences. It is a slow setting in. It kind of resonates with the pace of the village, perhaps. Yet, I’m sure it will find its audience. Although, the usual TVF audience may find it slow.

Final Say: Let it seep in like the smell of wet soil in rain, not heavy rain, but a light drizzle. By the end of it, you will feel so invested that you would hate the ending because it is the end.

Season 2? Definitely. Please bring it on. It’s a must!

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