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Not buying into the CBI’s terrorist theory, Chaudhary and Ansari begin an independent investigation, with aid from Sara. When they dig into Kabir’s past, they find that his family was a victim of communal riots and his brother was killed by a mob; however, Kabir’s surviving relatives deny that he is radicalized or has any Jihadi links.
Cheeni’s childhood friend contacts Chaudhary and fills him in to her backstory: she is an orphaned vagrant who was molested as a child but was working hard to save enough money to escape the grind. Raju, the goon whose gun Siddharth stole, is under pressure from his boss and beats up Siddharth.
When Chaudhary gets wind of this, he returns the gun to the gangster but savagely beats the entire gang, promising them that he’ll kill them if they approach his son again. In prison, Kabir is attacked by another inmate, which Chaudhary suspects is an inside job. Sara posits that Bajpayee, a Chitrakoot politician with links to Gwala Gujjar is the ringleader behind the plot, and the CBI’s terrorist theory is hogwash.
While looking through old newspaper clippings, Chaudhary finds a photo that links Tyagi’s high school coach to Bajpayee, information that the Coach withheld from Chaudhary when they last met.
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Paatal Lok (transl. Underworld) is an Indian Hindi-language crime thriller web television series on Amazon Prime Video, created by Sudip Sharma, who wrote the script along with Sagar Haveli, Hardik Mehta and Gunjit Chopra, and directed by Avinash Arun and Prosit Roy.
The series was produced by Anushka Sharma, under the banner Clean Slate Filmz, and stars Jaideep Ahlawat, Gul Panag, Neeraj Kabi, Swastika Mukherjee, Ishwak Singh, and Abhishek Banerjee. Loosely based on Tarun Tejpal’s 2010 novel The Story of My Assassins, the series is about a disillusioned cop who lands the case of an assassination attempt gone wrong.
Sudip Sharma wrote the script on January 2017, and took more than a year for writing and pre-production. It is filmed across more than 110 real locations, with Paatal Lok being the first web series to be shot at Chitrakoot.
The cinematography for the series were handled by Avinash Arun and Saurabh Goswami, with editing done by Sanyukta Kaza. The background score was jointly composed by Naren Chandravarkar and Benedict Taylor. The series marked the debut of Clean Slate Filmz (a production house led by Anushka Sharma) in production of television series for the digital medium.
Paatal Lok was premiered on Amazon Prime Video on 15 May 2020. The series eventually received rave reviews from critics, praising the performances of the protagonist Jaideep Ahlawat, and other lead characters, storyline, writing and direction. The series were listed in the Top 10 Indian Web Series of 2020, by The Indian Express. Variety magazine listed Paatal Lok as one of the best international TV shows of 2020.
The show revolves around Hathiram Chowdhary (Jaideep Ahlawat), a cynical cop who gets assigned to investigate a high-profile case. As he gets caught in the investigation, he gets dragged into the darker realms of the underworld.
Paatal Lok is inspired by traditional concepts of Svarga, Dharti and Paatal (heaven, earth and the hell), as metaphors for the different classes of India and the four estates, with the Paatal (hell) being served as the prime phase of the storyline, which takes places in East Delhi.