Amazon Prime Video Original ‘Panchayat,’ created by TVF, is the latest web series that tells a fitting story of a city-clad young Abhishek Tripathi who got a job as a secretary of the panchayat of Phulera village, Uttar Pradesh.
The story opens with Abhishek telling his friend about his displeasure in accepting the job and moving to stay in a village. But his friend tried to make him understand and advised him to take the CAT exam for MBA if he wants to get a better job. Till then, it is better to take the position of a secretary and explore rural India.
Soon we see Abhishek traveling to Phulera village with bus and continued carrying all his luggage behind his bike. Phulera is the replica of any Indian village. From the main road goes an uneven path that connects the village, with open lands on both the sides and dust.
Till Abhishek reaches the Phulera Panchayat office, he meets his assistant Vikas and the bodyguard of Brij Bhushan, Prahlad.
In the next few episodes, we see Abhishek struggling with adjusting to village life and getting along with its people. He is not happy in his job as a secretary, which he sees is not a very respectable job.
He finds himself stuck in the office work, solving villagers’ problems and studies. A dull, monotonous life with nothing exciting to do.
Desperate to escape from here, he decided to study hard for the CAT exam.
Three supporting characters revolve around Abhishek, Brij Mohan, Manju Devi, and Vikas. Raghuvir Yadav, playing Brij Bhushan, is always a pleasure to watch him acting onscreen.
Dubey Ji is the pseudo-Panchayat Pradhan; he is doing all the work in place of his wife, Manju Devi, who is the official government elected Panchayat Pradhan.
In one episode, where the village police are interrogating Abhishek for the missing computer monitor, Abhishek’s outburst expressing his despair and unhappiness of staying in Phulera and about being lonely.
We see the kind-hearted Brij Bhushan, who feels for Abhishek’s condition and to cheer him up he along with Vikas and Prahlad accompanied Abhishek in drinking and eating all together.
‘Panchayat’ has discussed the payment issue of a government employee in a village too. In the scene where Dubey Ji thinks of Abhishek as a fitting husband for his daughter to get married.
Manju Ji (Neena Gupta) then says his salary is meager. Not once, but thrice this has been pin-pointed about a panchayat secretary whose earning is less.
Several village oddities have been discussed in a comedy of manners, the incident where the bridegroom is being given special treatment, the superstitious beliefs of the villagers about the ghost in the Banyan tree, and a few more.
Vikas, the assistant of Abhishek, is a charming and sweet persona who brings a smile on the face whenever he appears onscreen. He is loyal and supportive of Abhishek. From the moment Abhishek arrives in Phulera, he kept on helping him and motivated him in his studies.
‘Panchayat’ doesn’t bring any dramatic change in any of his characters. It is the characters that are playing how a regular life goes like.
Major Disappointment in Panchayat
The major disappointment for me is the less screen share for Neena Gupta. For the last two years, she kept on giving terrific performances in movies and web series. Her natural acting skill and swiftness in getting into the character makes her a good performer.
Also, at some point in the story, the character outcome gets predictable and gets a bit monotonous in approach too. There is too much simplicity in the story format; it could have been better if they combined a bit more twists in the climax.
Should you stream it? It’s a lockdown period going on, so why not to stream a good web series on Amazon Prime Video.