Though web series had slowly been becoming a part of our lives, the world of OTT platforms truly exploded in India with Netflix’s first Hindi language web series, Sacred Games. Prime Video’s Mirzapur followed soon after.
2 years after Sacred Games released, there are multiple streaming platforms, and just as many crime-dramas and thrillers streaming on them.
And while the world of crime and thrillers has never looked more realistic or better, I, for one, am glad about the occasional, light-hearted gem, like Panchayat.
In 2020 alone, most of the top-streaming web series belonged to the genre of thrillers and/or crime. Paatal Lok (Amazon Prime Video), Asur (SonyLiv), Aarya (Hotstar), to name a few.
But TVF’s Panchayat was definitely different from the norm.
In a year where every new show or film that I discovered was peppered with violence, swear words, and shocking climaxes, Panchayat was far removed from vulgarity and full of innocent, genuine, situational comedy.
It wasn’t a fast-paced story weaving through violent towns and demanding cities. Rather, it was a gentle foray into life in an Indian village, showcasing experiences most of us have lived with.
I was not watching a protagonist uncover deadly mysteries and constantly fight for his/her life. Rather, I was watching a 20-something work hard at a job he hated and slowly come to terms with job life.
No points for guessing which protagonist I related more to.
And finally, there was a show where I did not have to wear earphones or shut my laptop the second a family member entered the room, because of the language being used or the scene playing out on the screen.
At a time when I have limited to zero privacy at home, watching certain shows can definitely prove to be a challenge.
But Panchayat became a show that I could fearlessly enjoy with my family, and it wasn’t even a religious drama. In an age of Ramayan reruns, that definitely counts for something.
In a year where crime-dramas seemed to be a dime a dozen, Panchayat was a brilliantly written and executed comedy-drama that struck a chord with the audience.
Its success proved, that audience isn’t moved by violence, crime, and sensationalism alone, and a good story will always be well received.
Simply put, like Dekh Bhai Dekh, Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai, etc., Panchayat is a show that you can return to, again and again, and it will always leave a smile on your face. Impossible not to, every time Vikas smiles in the frame, or Pradhan ji cracks a remark, or Sachiv ji exasperatedly gets on with his day.