Paatal Lok is an Indian crime thriller web series which is produced by Anushka Sharma, directed by Avinash Arun and Prosit Roy, and casts Jaideep Ahlawat, Gul Panag, Neeraj Kabi, Swastika Mukherjee, Ishwak Singh, and Abhishek Banerjee. It was premiered May 15, 2020 on Amazon Prime video. The teaser was released on 27 April while the trailer was out on 5 May.
Paatal Lok is based on Tarun Tejpal’s novel ‘The Story of My Assassins’ which was released in 2010. The series aims to portray a society, twisted in a abominable maze of lies, crime and violence.
When three men and a lady get arrested for the “conspiracy of murder” of a renowned journalist named Sanjeev Mehra, Inspector Hathi Ram is asked to handle the case. Hathi Ram, who was never given an opportunity to take in charge of major investigations, finds this as a possibility to sooner or later prove himself and his worth. But, little does he know that this case will lead him to the depths of the “paatal lok” (hell) of his world.
Four accused persons are arrested regarding this case, including serial killer, Hathoda Tyagi. Each of these characters represent the three realms Swarg Lok, Dharti Lok and Paatal Lok. However, the case turns out to be a devious web where nothing is what it appears to be. Hathiram Chaudhary’s pursuit of finding the culprit behind the murder attempt leads him to dive deeper into the netherworld where he make shocking discoveries about the four suspects.
Hathi Ram does not take a break from his personal or work life, but decides to win the respect of his family and colleagues, and deliberately embark on an investigation into the wasteland of Bundelkhand and the surreal turf of Chitrakoot. Rookie police officer and training officer Imran Ansari. It is a confusing investigation as the police follow a red herring and weak clues to unravel a complex plot.
After a slow and steady start, the series makes its move to the third episode, while the original stories of the four suspects are consistently portrayed. However, the sweep of a meaty center is short-lived. The pace changes again and stutters to a saturated final episode. The series builds on the occasional episodic hook and does not adequately cultivate interest in or concern for the main characters. But the structured topography, production, cinematography, and some good performances work hard to make a workable crime drama.
- Jaideep Ahlawat as Hathiram Chaudhary, a policeman
- Gul Panag as Renu Chaudhary, Hathiram’s wife
- Bodhisattva Sharma as Siddharth Chaudhary, Hathiram’s son
- Ishwak Singh as Imran Ansari, Hathiram’s junior
- Neeraj Kabi as Sanjeev Mehra, a reputable journalist and news anchor.
- Swastika Mukherjee as Dolly Mehra, Sanjeev’s wife.
- Niharika Lyra Dutt as Sara Matthews, a young journalist at Sanjeev’s station who begins an affair with him.
- Abhishek Banerjee as Vishal “Hathoda” Tyagi, a notorious hitman and one of the four suspects arrested in the plot to murder Sanjeev Mehra.
- Jagjeet Sandhu as Tope Singh (“Chaaku”), one of the four suspects who escaped from casteist oppression in his village.
- Asif Khan as Kabir M, one of the four suspects who hides his Muslim faith from the public.
- Vipin Sharma as DCP Bhagat, Hathiram’s commanding officer.
- Asif Basra as Jai Malik.
Paatal Lok opened to acclaim reviews, with many people calling it India’s best Hindi-language Indian web television series. On the releasing day of the series, Anurag Kashyap tweeted that Paatal Lok is “the best crime thriller to come out of this country,” that “It comes from the understanding of Real India. The dark heart of India, the communal and casteist India.” Celebrities took to Twitter to praise the show and the acting. Saibal Chatterjee gave the series 4 stars and wrote in his NDTV review, “Is Paatal Lok Amazon Prime’s Sacred Games? No. It is more.” IMDB rated the series 7.8 out of 10.