Panchayat Season 2: Return of the Phulera Quartet

When happiness knocks on your door after a long wait, it is called Panchayat Season 2. Streaming on Amazon Prime, it has already won the hearts of many with its no-violence, no-sexual and no-nonsense content, depicting the grassroots-level issues of modern India. A chance scrolling through Facebook informed me yesterday of the new Season having gone live and after that staying awake the whole night and watching it was the plan.

Season 2 opens nearly where Season 1 concluded but with a more confident and settled Abhishek Tripathi in Phulera. The supporting characters Pradhan ji, Madam, Vikas, and Prahlad chacha are back with their punchlines and innovative ideas. The introduction of Rinki, Pradhan ji’s daughter is the highlight of the season. Most viewers wanted to wait and watch if a parallel track transpired between Abhishek and Rinki.

The 8 -episode season is packed with day-to-day problems and their jugaadu solutions, village politics, national politics, and socio-cultural observation. Amidst all this comes the involvement of the village quartet with their ideas, egos, and worries, all the while cherishing their friendship above everything.  Recurring instances like gifting the lauki or buzzing a Hi on the Whatsapp group when any of them feel low connected the viewers to the first season.

Panchayat Season 2 continues Abhishek’s story and highlights his active involvement in village maintenance. Though he is still trying for his MBA and getting stuck in Quants, his rantings about ‘the bekaar village’ takes a setback as he seems to have adjusted himself quite well. The use of technology is also more prominent in this season since the last. From mobile phones to video chats, loudspeakers and more are all projected.

What intrigued me the most was the compassion shown to Abhishek by the unlikeliest of all people. Such instances not only make him retrospect on himself but also makes us as viewers understand what life in the village is all about. The prejudice, the ego clashes, and the fights are here to stay but when the need arises, everyone stands up for the other.

Another interesting point in this season is the presence of women characters in the forefront. Whether it be the Madam (Pradhan) herself or Rinki or local villagers. Each of the women characters brings lessons with them. At times, we even go on to realize that even though Madam does not sit in the office, her ways of dealing with tense situations might be more practical and effective than her husband. Rinki comes across as an upfront and headstrong girl who tolerates no-nonsense and yet, like her mother, deals with adverse situations in a mature manner.

The season also focuses on genuine problems faced by the villagers. From working in the fields to waiting forever to get toilets installed at their homes or even have a proper tar road. In most of these instances, the prolonged delay is due to no allocation of funds. This leads to an entirely different political ballgame. It is because of these truthful yet humorously projected instances that Panchayat has won over its audience, mostly the modern urban population.

Since Abhishek has now more or less imbibed the village surroundings, his natural attitude of amazement – which was a source of punchlines and humour in the past season– has reduced to an extent. Also, keeping in mind that the season was released during the pandemic, it would have been nice to see the effect of the ongoing disaster on the grassroots level and how the Panchayat dealt with them.

Well, I guess we have to start the endless wait again for Panchayat Season 3!  But all in all, it was worth the wait.

Rating: 3.5/5

*Disclaimer: Lead Image Credits: Amazon Prime

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