I tried my best to watch this series till the end and then write a review about it. Skipped a few parts just to avoid some intolerable scenes but still, I couldn’t watch the entire series. Because fast-forwarding a few scenes to not watch the gruesome details the series was focusing on only meant fast-forwarding almost the entire web series.
The major concern of the lockdown has been people’s mental health. We have been repeatedly asked to take care of our minds, of our anxieties and not let negative thoughts creep in. At times like these when we are fighting to regain sanity, I would not recommend Paatal Lok to anyone, not even to the strongest of minds. The reason being I don’t understand why would anyone feed oneself content that is:
- Serves no real purpose
- Adds to the negativity
Warning: If you go ahead and watch Paatal Lok just because of the hype, I would recommend you to not watch it with senior citizens, kids, or with family members suffering from any kind of mental or emotional disorder.
If you wonder why I am saying so, there are scenes where horrifying, disturbing details have been added – UNNECESSARILY. There is a scene where a man walks into the house of one of the accused carrying a chopped head in a plastic bag. Then there is a scene where a child is being raped. Having said that, the child is not shown being raped but still it is disturbing.
While watching Paatal Lok, I wondered why do people love such web series? After pondering over the question for a while, I reached a conclusion that there are two aspects to a series or movies that make people say that they liked the content.
One, the story keeps you mentally or emotionally hooked.
Second, the series keeps you visually hooked.
Now, why did I not say that the ‘STORY’ keeps you visually hooked? Because such web series focus a lot on giving you goosebumps, making you scream, and exhausting you emotionally. Once that is done, their job is done. You screamed, you empathized with a few characters, you hated the heroes, you loved the villains – their job is done. Some film-makers think that if they get ‘REAL,’ they have delivered good content. But to what extent do you go to make life look hopeless and horrifying to your audience? That’s a question the film-makers should ask oneself. With the kind of content digital is producing, I have strongly started believing that their creative liberty needs censorship.
Some people might argue that this is what happens in India and that’s the reality. Before you say that, let me clear my point – I am not against the story. I am against the way it’s been put forth. I am against the gruesome details that were added simply because the makers thought that it would bring a ‘wow’ factor to the series and they will be given a bravery award for being brave enough to show murders, child rape, and hatred. If you watch Crime Patrol, you must be knowing how the crime scenes unfold in the show without giving disturbing details to the audience. The show still manages to give you goosebumps and make you wonder if you are safe even in your own house. It has that impact on the audience.
Whatever is shown is more concerning because the internet is accessible to everyone, to the kids, to the mentally exhausted people, to the strongest of minds – you can’t filter your audience. What if kids end up watching such shows when all alone in the room? What if the content severely affect their minds and alter their lives forever? That’s the power of the medium and hence it should not be abused. The makers and the OTT platforms should be responsible enough to not make or stream such content when it is open for consumption to everyone.
Coming to reviewing Paatal Lok, the story had the potential to give you goosebumps and make you question a lot of things just on the basis of its plot and storyline. But it drastically failed when its focus shifted from the power the story had to change perspectives to just making the audience ‘react.’
The story has also been dragged a lot. Without the backstories of the accused, Paatal Lok could have been a crisp, engrossing tale of strong characters like Hathi Ram Chaudhary and Sanjeev Mehra. But as I said, the focus was shifted somewhere else.
Love the series or hate it, one thing all of us are definitely going to love and that is Hathi Ram Chaudhary and his associate. Their chemistry and their scenes both were wonderful. I am glad to see Jaideep Ahlawat getting a full-fledged role in the series. If you decide to watch Paatal Lok, watch it for him.
P.S: Why did I not complete the series? Because I do not want to give makers or the OTT platforms a green signal to continue making such horrendous content. More you watch such shows, more violence, nudity, and hatred will be served in the name of entertainment and that is not acceptable.
Where to Watch? Prime Video