It’s no secret that the pandemic pushed the audience to OTT content, but what made them stay there, was the quality of content available on streaming platforms. This is exactly why, despite new shows arriving every week, and movies making their way to streaming platforms, only a few web series emerged as cinematic marvels – leaving an entire nation impressed, and worming their way into the audience’s hearts.
One such show is TVF’s Panchayat, currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
When Panchayat first released, it became a sleeper hit, joining the ranks of shows like Scam 1992 and Gullak. After all, while the show boasted of a talented star cast, it certainly did not include “stars”. And yet, it became a crowd favourite for its simple, clean humor, brilliant storytelling, and of course, amazing performances by the entire star cast.
In fact, the show became so popular that season 2 was easily one of the most anticipated Amazon Prime originals of the year. And the early arrival of the show–keeping in line with Amazon’s marketing strategy for season 2 of all its popular shows–left fans thoroughly ecstatic.
Sometimes I wish life was a bit like @PrimeVideoIN— Kshitij Salve (@JaisiAapkiMasti) May 19, 2022
You’re eagerly awaiting something. And then you know the date you’ll get it.
But guess what, you get it a day early.
However, this time, the show was also competing with two highly anticipated theatrical releases – the sequel to one of Bollywood’s most loved horror-comedies, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 starring Kartik Aryan, Kiara Advani, and Tabu. And the Kangana Ranaut starrer action-drama, Dhaakad.
But what the weekend showed, with ample proof, was the rise of content in the face of stars.
While Dhaakad failed to generate enough audience for even scheduled shows, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 also opened to mixed reviews (though, comparatively, fuller shows), especially in comparison to the original.
Bhool bhulaiya 2 is good only when you watch it as a standalone movie and not a part of bhool bhulaiya. Thay was miles ahead of this bit tbh, it's enjoyable without comparison— ray (@batman_437) May 22, 2022
Looks like I’m gonna watch #Dhaakad in almost empty theater 😭— Siddhant Kumar (@shivanshi9415) May 20, 2022
Was so excited for #Dhaakad , didn’t expect empty theater though, it’s Friday night and only two tickets booked (us).— Ñami H (@Nami_Hald) May 20, 2022
To be honest, movie isn’t that good, looks like #KanganaRanaut forgot acting! Special effects wr also bad, overacting by every 1, A rated scenes #DhaakadReview pic.twitter.com/R1LnKLiQYS
Even as Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 edges to better results, it’s still not close enough to match the love and appreciation that Panchayat S2 has generated. Not only did Panchayat break Bollywood’s curse of disappointing sequels, the S2 climax, alone, found a greater audience, than Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, and rightfully so.
Didn’t expect such ending #PanchayatSeason2 Heartbreaking.. Last episode was unexpectable… I had never expected such climax..This series is very special not because of it’s story but because of reality that it is showing to our middle class society. प्रह्लाद चा रुला दिए 😭 pic.twitter.com/XH1sxqpVeP— Ravi Ranjan (@RaviRanjanIn) May 22, 2022
Because Panchayat did what most movies, to date, continue to miss – focus on the story and not the star.
One may think that Abhishek aka Sachiv Ji is the star of the show, but he’s merely the protagonist. His love story, struggles, friendships, together, are splintered across the show, but never, not even for one entire episode, take center stage.
Rather, what takes center stage is life in Phulera – with its relatable problems, realistic solutions, and unique characters. As Sachiv Ji goes about his life in Phulera, dealing with ‘banrakas‘ villagers, we go on the journey with him.
And it’s not just because web series creators have more time than filmmakers to tell a story. But because these creators are not forcing to fit an unwanted love story, a crass remix, tired tropes, and cliched scenes in a few hours. They are simply telling a story – one that resonates with all of us.
Panchayat season 2..so closely it hits the cords of rural development. This is to the thousands of sachiv, sarpanch and rozgar sahyaks working relentlessly in a very charged environment!#PanchayatSeason2— Riju Bafna (@rijubafna) May 22, 2022
this show 😭😭— ⚛️ (@itv_fever) May 19, 2022
tvf, their team, jeetu and everyone else involved created magic yet again ♥️
the simplicity, wins! i cant wait for the next season
‘it’s all about friends who become family’#PanchayatSeason2 • #Panchayat2 • #PanchayatOnPrime pic.twitter.com/HnHWZ6HBGz
Why else would Prahlad’s loss hit us like our own?
Or Abhishek and Rinki’s fledgling romance, tug at our heartstrings?
And Pradhan ji’s stand, for his daughter, and his friend, make our hearts swell with pride?
Because these characters made a place in our hearts. And despite CGI effects, and commendable acting, movies couldn’t do the same.
The success of Panchayat Season 2 speaks for itself. We don’t need old stories and cliches with new actors, no matter how popular they may be. We just need good stories. If only, filmmakers could pay heed.