It is a good sign to see various scripted web series on the OTT platform. In view of changing audience trends, almost all OTT channels these days are featuring themes that appeal to the general public in one way or another. That is, raise burning issues.
Even years before the three-tier system of Panchayati Raj was implemented in the country, there was a long tradition in Indian villages of sitting in the chaupal and resolving all kinds of village affairs through the Panchs. Due to democracy, this system started at the national level as the lowest judiciary in the country, followed by the Janpad Panchayat or Panchayat Samiti and the formation process of the Zilla Parishad at the district level. With the passage of time this system also underwent many changes and gradually, in line with all other systems, the Panchayat system also became almost a joke.
In the ‘Panchayat’ web series produced under the banner of TVF, an interesting yet sensitive script was woven into a fictional base based on Phulera, a village panchayat in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. Its first season on Amazon Prime last year received unexpected appreciation from the audience. Encouraged by this, the channel got its creators to make the second part of the series after a long hiatus.
In the first season of Panchayat, the story involving the newly appointed secretary of Phulera Gram Panchayat was dropped at a special moment. From there it was carried forward in the second part. Dreaming of becoming a high-ranking official in a government department, young Abhishek attracts the third-class position of secretary of the village panchayat in times of struggle, and accepts this appointment without thinking. As soon as he sets foot in the village, not just one, but many kinds of challenges stand before him in enormous size.
From the behavior, traditions, and background of the townspeople, it turns out to be their fate to become sandwiched between the pressure of lower-level local politics and higher-level district officials. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, how the democratic structure of the Panchayat system has been blown up in recent years, this series has been presented with a very fine overview. Especially if the sarpanch or village chief is a woman, then the issue of giving importance to the husband in her place has been well highlighted.
The story of a village panchayat in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, shot in a village in the Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh, exemplifies the similarity of the panchayat system in both states. The use of the dominant MLA for his own ego and the village chief for the vote bank exposes the bitter truth of the system. Actress Neena Gupta along with actor Raghuveer Yadav with solid theater and Jitendra Kumar in the role of secretary were impressed. Although both parts of the series managed to maintain their originality, the second part, compared to the first, failed to keep the audience engaged with the story.