Panchayat season 2 review: Well-crafted sequel maintains the humour

Panchayat season 2 continues the story of Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar), a graduate who only manages to secure the job of a village Panchayat secretary. It is now streaming on Prime Video.

Story

At the end of season 1, Abhishek was unable to crack IIMs through the CAT exams and decided to study in the village for one more year and give it again.

Season 2 picks up a few months after the conclusion. Abhishek is visibly more content with his life in the Phulera village and looks much more comfortable.

However, Bhushan (Durgesh Kumar) aspires to dethrone Brij (Raghubir Yadav) and Manju Devi (Neena Gupta) as the Pradhan of the village and brings trouble to Abhishek and the group.

Abhishek also starts to get closer to Rinki, Brij and Manju’s daughter. Her parents are incessantly attempting to find a groom for her.

All this makes Phulera as eventful as ever. Will Abhishek continue to adapt?

Performances

As with season 1, Jitendra Kumar is the heart and soul of the show. His character acts as a direct lens for city viewers into the world of rural India.

Kumar has always been hailed as a competent actor, which he continues to prove in Panchayat. Right from his annoyance to controlled laughter, everything feels organic.

Ragubir Yadav as Brij, Faisal Malik as Prahlad and Chandan Roy as Vikas, bring most of the humour to the series. These are some of the quirkiest characters in the Indian web series landscape.

Neena Gupta, as Manju Devi, and Sanvikaa, as Rinki, provide the necessary foil to the male characters, and both excel in their roles.

Positives

The innocent humour of Panchayat is extremely refreshing. The natural behaviour of the villagers is hilarious at times, without ever treading a darker tone.

This is achieved through sharp dialogues and punchlines that land almost every time. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you will get the humour.

Director Deepak Kumar Mishra paints an exceedingly interesting world that you cannot get enough of. It’s unlike any city-based series out there, making it a unique offering.

Speaking of the portrayal, the rural side of India is depicted vividly. The cinematography of the roots of India is never glossed over and is aesthetic in its own right.

These kinds of shows are much-needed to give storytelling a more holistic approach, and not saturate a single genre and setting.

Every episode is long enough to address the prevalent issue. The pacing is perfect for the series and it never feels dragged.

Although Abhishek is the protagonist, every character gets their time in the spotlight; right from Manju Devi to the antagonist Pradhan. This makes viewers more attached to the entire village as opposed to rooting for the lead.

The character development feels authentic. Manju has started to understand her role as a Pradhan but is working her way up to it slowly. She didn’t turn into a dominating Pradhan overnight, which feels real.

Negatives

The emergence of a clear antagonist feels a bit tired. This is what you see in every other series. Part of what made the first season endearing was the out-of-the-box approach, where the quirks of villagers were central to the plot, not a rivalry.

The narrative slows down a bit in terms of the timeline. There is not much mention of Abhishek’s MBA studies and the season doesn’t conclude on a full circle, with the makers instead going for a shock factor, which feels a bit out of the blue and incoherent.

Verdict

Panchayat is one of the most competently created franchises in the young history of web shows in India and season 2 keeps up the standard.

It is a must-watch not just for the entertainment and humour, but the authentic depiction of rural India.

Rating: 3.5/5


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