Panchayat touching ode to India’s villages; wish there was more Neena Gupta

19 May, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

The Amazon Prime Video dramedy tugs at your heartstrings and provides a genuine and unfiltered glimpse at country life in India.

Prepare to be proven wrong if you thought Panchayat 2 would be a typical light-hearted comedy that has been seen on Indian television for decades. The second season of this slice-of-life dramedy starring Jitendra Kumar premiered on Wednesday, May 18. This time, in addition to providing chuckles, the programme also encourages you to think, reflect, and, at the end, hold back your emotions. It’s not a terrific show, but it’s certainly entertaining.

The first season of Panchayat follows Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar), who took an unwelcome position as a Panchayat secretary in the middle of nowhere—specifically, in Phulera, a distant village in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. The second season reveals how Abhishek, nicknamed Sachiv Ji, has adjusted to his new role in Phulera and formed ties with the residents, particularly with the village’s previous Pradhan (Raghubir Yadav), his wife and the current Pradhan (Neena Gupta), and the other two office-bearers (played by Faisal Malik and Chandan Roy).

The show’s idea is basic enough: how a city guy who has never spent time in a rural adjusts to a new existence and discovers that some challenges are universal across time. The second season had the potential to be repetitious, but Panchayat expertly avoided this. It demonstrates character and plot development, allowing Abhishek to learn new aspects of Phulera and its inhabitants. It also avoids a cliche that has been used in many shows and films set in rural India: portraying it as an exotic freakshow to be laughed at or scorned. The Indian village is depicted by Panchayat as a real place with actual people. Yes, there is hilarity in rural life, but only in the situations in which individuals find themselves.