Paatal Lok – A Neo Noir look at the Descent of Humanity

Paatal Lok (English: Underworld) is a crime thriller web television series which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on 15 May 2020.

It is produced by Clean Slate Films, and stars Jaideep AhlawatGul PanagNeeraj KabiSwastika MukherjeeIshwak Singh, and Abhishek Banerjee.

It is a police-based thriller written by Sudip Sharma.

The series is inspired by the traditional concepts of SvargaDharti and Paatal (heaven, earth and the hell) and the four estates.

It deals with a story about a down and out cop who lands the case of an assassination attempt gone wrong.

That statement above sums up the premise of this show in a Nut Shell

Anushka Sharma once again backs topical content after having made her Production Debut with NH10

So, What Makes this one Tick?

Let’s Find Out!

What Doesn’t Work?

  • There is absolutely, and I repeat, there is absolutely nothing that doesn’t work here
  • The only grouse I could think of is the series employs the narrative of a slow burn thriller
  • But, it could feel this way only because certain people are impatient with their thrillers
  • For Audiences that are used to this technique, also know that the pay off for this kind of narrative is hugely rewarding

So, What Works?


  • Right from the concept to the script and down to the screenplay, this series is a Visual and Aural Delight
  • I would like to believe Anushka Sharma and Amazon Prime have hit bull’s eye with the creation of this series
  • The Opening Sequence sets the tone for what’s about to follow
  • It just touches upon concepts of the Swarag, Dharti & Paatal(The 3 Lok’s) and then drifts away
  • It then sucks us into mundane police work of responding to trivial complaints(petty domestic disturbances)
  • It is enough to give perspective of the listless work our police force is also subjected to from time to time
  • Once we are introduced to the Pitch, the Major Characters and their lives, that’s when the Thrill and the emergence of a plot kick in
  • This Thrill livens things up when we find our Pivotal Characters(Jaideep Ahlawat & Ishwak Singh) getting assigned with a case for Conspiracy to Murder and the accused stationed at their Police Chowki

The Screen Play, Script & It’s Narrative Technique Work Wonders

  • This is where the actual plot, it’s back stories and all the threads that tie in together are now there for the Unravelling
  • From here on, every episode of Paatal Lok keeps adding layers to the Actual Plot and brings about a reveal with every Episode
  • There are subplots that feel non-essential, however by the time you reach the finale all of them tie in to the Central Theme
  • The Series smartly employs metaphors and allegories at every instance possible
  • These Metaphors exist to show us a reflection of Society in today’s times
  • It truly is a Resounding Slap to our faces
  • This slap reminds us that we are yet to get over these aspects of Hell that exist within Dharti Lok
  • Through certain characters, situations and scenarios prevalent evils like Caste/Religion Discrimination, Child/Girl Abuse, Power/Corruption are portrayed through strong images
Neeraj Kabi
  • At times, the screen play goes out right to display certain evils just the way they exist
  • Even if the imagery is not explicit, it is sufficient to make us think
  • The Script is devised in a manner that when the series ends, it’s TRULY SIMPLE
  • It was right there in front of our eyes, however we were busy looking at other red herrings
  • The Narrative is Pure Neo-Noir in Nature

This is no surprise considering Navdeep Singh(Script Consultant) is attached to this project

We still remember that he is responsible for one of the best Neo-Noir Thrillers in Indian Cinema

The Other Aspects of this Series?

  • The Art Direction & Production Design(Vahi Shaikh & Mukund Gupta) respectively have done an immaculate job
  • They have captured the feel, look and essence of the characters and their locales right down to the tee
  • Right from the First Frame, you’re invested into the denizens of Delhi, Outer Jamna, Chitrakoot and neighboring areas as we progress
  • The Back Ground Score(Naren Chandavarkar/Benedict Taylor) is gripping and doesn’t let go of your being when you’re invested in the proceedings on screen
  • The Cinematography(Avinash Arun/Saurabh Goswami) capture the rugged terrain through earthy frames and keep sucking us deeper into the vortex of Paatal Lok
Jaideep Ahlawat

The Performances?

  • Every Actor out here have nailed their performances
  • Right from the one’s who are on the sidelines to the supporting crew, they bring alive this Nether World through their Savage Display of Vices
  • Be it Jalota, Sharma, Basra, Choudhary or Khurana they are simply splendid during their screen time

Some who deserve a mention for their stellar supporting acts:

  • Gul Panag
  • Swastika Mukherjee
  • Jagjeet Sandhu
  • Ishwak Singh
  • Mairembam Ronaldo Singh
  • Niharika Lyra Dutt
  • Akshay Sharma(A Chilling Voice Over)

Niharika and Mairembam are truly astounding with the meat they extract out of their roles

Finally, the 3 Major Pillars who make this Paatal Lok worth your while:

Abhishek Banerjee as Vishal “Hathoda” Tyagi hypnotises with his performance
  • He demolishes the maxim: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
  • His Expressions not only speak louder, they thunder right across your soul
  • This Actor has the least amount of screen time, however milks his role for all it’s worth
  • It’s a treat every time he appears on screen
Neeraj Kabi as Sanjeev Mehra, the Journalist traps you with a dilemma
  • He takes you through the lows and highs of his character’s motivations
  • At every turn, you see a different aspect of his personality
  • It gives you a build up towards A Personality you want to Believe in
  • As the story progresses, so does the character arc
  • By the time, we have reached the finale you are lost
  • The reason you are lost is because Kabi leaves you confused
  • You have seen myriad aspects of his character
  • And Now you are clueless. How do you root for him?
  • What exactly are we supposed to root for? His Good, Bad or Ugly?
Jaideep Alhawat as Hathiram Chaudhary the Inspector who gets saddled with an opportunity
  • This Actor truly nails the role of a Cop who’s almost past his Prime
  • His Traits, His Twitches & Quirks are enough to for us to follow on with him in this journey
  • He captures that stelly detrmination and desperation to not let go
  • The conviction he portrays is the reason why we remain hooked
  • That is exactly why when you reach the Finale, you will be amazed
  • It kind of is meant to be a Payoff for Ahlawat’s Character and his Life
  • This Son of A Gun won my Heart with his Ballsy Act!

The Verdict?

By All Means, Paatal Lok calls for a Binge Watch

  • Please Watch this one if you haven’t already
  • It Compares right at the Top of the Finest Content in the Indian Streaming Scene Today
  • I could fairly say it kind of one upped Sacred Games in it’s execution

Iss Paatal Lok Ki Yatra Karna Aavashyak Hai….

Go for It!

Hats off to Anushka Sharma & The Entire Crew for giving us one HELL of a RIDE!



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