Paatal Lok, Amazon Prime Video’s explosive crime thriller, has taken the OTT space by storm, and received unparalleled praise. Most are calling it the best show produced in the country ever. The credit for the super response to the show, apart from the story and direction, goes to the two primary actors that headline the show – Abhishek Banerjee and Jaideep Ahlawat. The two singlehandedly steal the limelight in the show like nobody’s business.
For long, the Indian content space has been witnessing a parade of dull, faceless, assembly line characters in web shows — all of them with similar characteristics and character arcs. Characters that enthrall, but only so long as the show is on screen, to dissipate into oblivion as soon as the screen goes blank.
In that sense, the OTT content space has been stagnating recently for want of outstanding protagonists and antagonists. The kind whose characterisations grip you by the throat, rip through your gut, and land a hard punch right in your solar plexus such that all the breath is sucked out of you like a full-blown balloon that deflates noisily on being jabbed with a sharp object.
And then, along came Pataal Lok and brought us two characters, exactly the kind we just finished describing above. Those who’ve watched Paatal Lok will know whom we talk about – yes, Hathoda Tyagi and Hathi Ram Choudhury.
Vishal ‘Hathoda’ Tyagi is the remorseless murderer who bludgeons his victims to death with a hathoda (hammer); hence the name. Abhishek Banerjee is dark, chilling and forbidding as ‘Hathoda’ Tyagi. He radiates menace of the kind rarely seen on screen before.
His eyes spit burning coal and seem to hypnotise you with the sheer evil that lurks in their depths. He makes your skin break out in cold sweat by merely being – that’s how compelling Hathoda Tyagi is. It is a character that’ll stay with you for a long long time, and each time you think of him, your blood will crawl of its own volition.
Hathi Ram Choudhury, meanwhile, is a character that is as difficult to decode as it is to find polar bears in the Sahara Desert. The character is shrouded in layers and nuances so copious that the real Hathi Ram Choudhury is lost in the melee. Jaideep Ahlawat, as the hapless, cynical, beaten down police officer who is stunned into action by presumed humiliation, evokes audience sympathy, and is the perfect foil for Hathoda Tyagi’s outright evil.
Ahlawat has given the performance of a lifetime, knowing fully well that Hathi Ram Choudhury isn’t a role he’ll get to play again in a hurry. It is one of the most intriguing and bewitching characters to hit the Indian content space in recent times. It’s an outstanding role, played with stupefying perfection by Jaideep Ahlawat.
I don’t know about you, but these two Paatal Lok Ke Log have been haunting my waking hours and keeping me awake at night — and would you believe it — I’m glad for it.
We Are Hiring - If you love binge-watching and follow everything related to the various OTT platforms and their content, here is your chance to turn the passion into a profession.
Get in touch with us at [email protected]