'Panchayat' Review: Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav hit the ball out of the park with this light-hearted village drama

Web Series: Panchayat

OTT: Amazon Prime Video

Cast: Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Raghbir Yadav, Faisal Malik, Chandan Roy, Biswapati Sarkar

Director: Deepak Kumar Mishra

Rating: 4 Moons

After immortalising the role of Jitu in TVF’s Kota Factory, Jitendra Kumar is back with yet another engaging and realistic web series. Titled Panchayat, the 8-episode show reunites Jitendra with his film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’s mother Neena Gupta.

Panchayat orbits around Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra), who lands himself a job of the secretary of the village council aka Sachiv. Leaving behind his city culture, Abhishek heads to a village in Uttar Pradesh named Phulera. Disinterested with his job profile and income, he wants to enjoy the life and luxuries of a corporate job. On arriving at Phulera, he meets Deputy Pradhan- Prahlad (Faisal Malik), assistant- Vikas (Chandan Roy), and Pradhanpati- Brij Bhushan Dubey (Raghubir Yadav). Soon, it is revealed that Manju Devi (Neena) is the chief aka Pradhan of the panchayat but it is Brij Bhushan who manages the work instead of her.

Recommended Read: Panchayat trailer: Jitendra Kumar reunites with Neena Gupta in this hilariously quirky web series

Sulking with his sarkari naukari and a meager salary, Abhishek rants about the not-so-fancy things to his friend Prateek (Biswapati Sarkar) who has a private job to his merit. With his advice, Abhishek considers pursuing MBA and decides to clear the CAT exam by studying after working hours in his ill-furnished quarters.

Slowly and steadily, Abhishek is settled in his job, but it still doesn’t fascinate him. From solving electricity issues to tolerating the tantrums of a demanding groom and evoking a sense of empowerment in Manju Devi, he does it all, one episode a time.

Divided into eight episodes, Panchayat takes off quickly without wasting time. All the characters are perfectly etched and play an important role in blurring the line between reel and real. What strings Panchayat together is the simple yet well-told story that promotes the fact that things don’t take place as per the plan and one must start loving the situation there are in. In times when people all across the globe are worried and anxious about the spread of Coronavirus, Panchayat comes to the fore as a light-hearted solution to keep stress at bay.

Jitendra Kumar as Abhishek is to the show like ink to pen. He brings Abhishek to life by emoting the angst of an ambitious youngster smoothly. He isn’t a superhero but a normal person with dreams. Conveying the struggles of juggling between work and studies along with solving problems of non-sensical and short-tempered villagers, Jitendra is a talent worth commemorating.

Raghubir Yadav as the soft-hearted and friendly Brij Bhushan aka pati (husband) of the official Pradhan, Manju Devi, is whole-heartedly lovable. Say his affection towards Abhishek or camaraderie with his wife Manju, Brij Bhushan is the kind of politician and person everyone needs. Raghubir injects his experience into the character, making it memorable.

Neena Gupta, as Manju Devi, completes the picture with her nuanced acting. The otherwise witty and sharp Neena beautifully slips into the character of Manju who has no aspirations to step out of the house and take charge of the duties of a Pradhan. Lacking knowledge about the outer world, Manju is the force behind Brij’s emotional decisions. Neena gets the rural Uttar Pradesh perfectly and her overall character fits the bill. Brief yet impactful, she is a delight to watch on screens.

Faisal Malik and Chandan Roy are the ones who keep the story going strong. The actors lay a strong foundation for the overall narrative. Though not the central characters, they are the reason behind the upliftment of Jitendra’s and Raghubir’s roles in particular. As the attention and fame-seeking Prahlad, Faisal puts across a good show while Chandan’s Vikas gives dimension to the narrative.

Director Deepak Kumar Mishra deserves a round of applause for conveying a light-hearted story effectively. Without being preachy about any of the social problems shown, Deepak keeps Panchayat clear and to the point. Writer Chandan Kumar has sketched the characters to perfection and each of them seems to be one of us. The story by him is light, catchy and engaging. Not for a minute, you will get bored. Anurag Saikia’s music flows smoothly with the narrative, adding to the overall vibe. Kudos to Tarpan Shrivastava for apt and realistic production design. With minute details taken care of, Panchayat lives up to its title with the ambience created by him. Editor Amit Kulkarni has kept Panchayat short and crisp, which is the reason behind its maximum impact. gives Panchayat 4 Moons

(Image Source: Amazon Prime Video)