At a time his best friend got a Rs 12 lakh CTC job, our protagonist (low on academics and confidence) takes a job as secretary to a village pradhan. “Pagaar bees hazaar hai, gaon me hai aur gaon ka naam Phulera hai… isme se kaun waala part tujhe achcha laga, mujhe bata dena.” – he quips in frustration. Led by Jitendra Kumar (of SMZS), Raghuvir Yadav, Chandan Roy and Neena Gupta, each of whom give heart touching performances, Panchayat is your simple ‘back to the roots’ comedy drama. If not for the use of expletives occasionally, this would be worth watching with entire family.
Laughter is generated via simple situations… starting from difficulties in breaking a lock, rumours surrounding a ‘bhootwa’ tree, a chair with wheels, naming a baby Aarav or Atmaram, teaching Jana Gana Mana, a stolen computer monitor which is cutely returned back as ‘hum soche yeh TV hai’ and many more. This is pure Hrishi Da brand of comedy fast becoming extinct in modern times – a no slapping each other, no falling over people, no sexual jokes, no Baadshah lyrics and no cheap stunts show. Panchayat is a story where our protagonist, filled with anger and complete lack of faith in his own abilities, keeps finding himself in tough situations but also realizes every day the Mohan Bhargava (Sharukh Khan in Swades) in him.
The fun of viewing Panchayat lies in the way it soaks us all into its world of simplicity.. where every villager helps out in the wedding function arrangements of a neighbour, where a ‘chota sa kaam’ means bringing a 15 litre ghee canister from the market far away, where people in the village are interested in our man’s CAT exam preparations, or knock his door midnight to remove his loneliness; and then there is that (very relatable) guy who is willing to run errands for everyone, just out of happiness.
There is lot of learn from Panchayat.. least of which being how a village in Uttar Pradesh has developed over the last decade – with part cemented roads, cemented houses, computer at the Pradhan’s office, the district magistrate batting for women empowerment and population control; and where the debate one day is where to fix 13 solar lights around Phulera.
You are bound to fall in love with all the situations, conundrums and characters, including with director Deepak Kumar Mishra. Kudos. Must watch.
IMDB Viewers Current Rating : 9/10