TVF Panchayat 3 Review: Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta's show has sweetness, but the 'lauki' isn't tender

Web Series: Panchayat Season 3

Cast: Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Raghubir Yadav, Faisal Malik, Chandan Roy, Sanvikaa

Director: Deepak Kumar Mishra

Rating: 3 Moons

The quiet village of Phulera is preparing for elections. The summers are getting hotter than before as the West and East battle for political monopoly. Panchayat 3 goes deeper with emotions and human values with Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Raghubir Yadav, Faisal Malik, Chandan Roy, Sanvikaa and an ensemble cast.

It begins by sharing an update on Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar). He has stepped down from the position of Phulera's Sachiv and has moved out of the village to focus on cracking the CAT exam. However, Prahlad (Faisal Malik), reeling from losing his martyred son Rahul, won't let the new Sachiv take charge. Due to the pressure of his beloved village buddies and Rinky (Sanvikaa), Abhishek resumes work at the council office. The air is stinking of politics and rivalry. As the elections in Phulera are around the corner, Panchayat 3 orbits around the political tension between the groups. 

TVF's Panchayat returns to Prime Video after a year's gap. A lot has changed in the village. People are maturing, the atmosphere is tense and competitive. Amid political tension, the show doesn't miss out on subtle humour. For example, 'Go Kabutar Go,' has been used at a crucial junction in the show, which is heavily inspired by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment of India, Ramdas Athawale's 'Go Corona Go' during the pandemic. 

Deepak and writer Chandan Kumar tap into grassroot level politics, shedding light on corruption. The treatment isn't heavy. However, the return to Phulera doesn't seem that warm and comforting enough. The proximity between the characters and audience has been widened. There's some degree of distance between this relationship. A lot of emphasis has been put on establishing the sentiment of longing, grief, unity and community bonding. That's what takes Panchayat 3 forward. The show offers nothing new. Neither does it surprise or shock you. The previous season did that brilliantly. In terms of continuity, Panchayat 3 goes banger. Prahlad's melancholic mannerism pierce through the heart. The background score has a major role to play in this. Faisal Malik stands out like never before. 

Panchayat 3 allows the supporting cast to take a step up and match the magic of established lead characters. They're the centre of attention and it is well deserved. It might not match the standards of the previous seasons but it neither harms. The plotline is sweet, and simple and borrows a lot from reality. Subplots like greed, authority, loss, love, ambition, and competition take centre stage, allowing the narrative to intensify. Simpler and happy moments between the male members of Phulera, Prahlad's conversation with an old lady on loneliness, Abhishek and Rinky's sweet love story, Vikas embracing parenthood delight the soul. 

Despite the sweetness, Panchayat 3 plays safe. The story doesn't move forward and has barely a few moments to carry back in the mind and heart. The lauki (bottle gourd) this time isn't as tender and delicious as it used to be. In order to progress, the light-heartedness is somewhere lost. The cool breeze-like show at times feels like a hot loo. The innocence is also lost. 

Panchayat 3 is a decent, harmless one-time watch, even if it's nowhere closer to the prequels.