Jehanabad - Web Series Review

I am not a big fan of reading, writing or even discussing about the Naxal movement in India. On one extreme, they are (till date) gunning down their enemies – from upper caste leaders / personalities to those in power & bureaucracy including Politicians, Police and Forces. On the other, their claim of displaying their angst against the establishment for want of bringing about a change – I wonder, if the Western way of doing things has found results in India. 

The Web series of the title on Sony Liv is a fictitious account of what happened on 13 Nov. 2005, when a huge group of rebels thronged the District Jail in Jehanabad in South Bihar. They freed their fellow comrades who were housed there, in a daring attempt of prison break-in, kidnapped a few leaders of the upper caste Ranvir Sena and sent a strong message to the State and Central Governments of their might in full public display. This whole incident happened late in the night and almost no civilian were attacked or injured as per reports. Though there were casualties from the police as well as the rebels. Interestingly, though the prison was broken in, many inmates remained within and didn't flee the scene until the police arrived the next day.

The series, spread over 10 parts of 30 mins each starts with the dashing Abhimanyu Singh (Ritwik Bhowmick) joining the local college as an English Lecturer. Kasturi Mishra (Harshita Gaur) is a bubbly young girl in town who spreads her cheer and happiness everywhere she goes. It's love at first instant for the young girl whose infatuation on the teacher turns a lot more serious over the next few days. Initially Abhimanyu refutes her love, so much so that she gets prepared to marry someone of her parents choice. Rajendra Mishra (Rajesh Jais), Kasturi’s father runs the canteen for inmates inside the prison selling toothpaste, soap and books. Kumud Mishra (Sonal Jha) is initially reluctant to get Kasturi married to Abhimanyu until the dust settles down. Lots of family bonding follows, especially since Abhimanyu is showcased as an orphan since his childhood and a self-made man thereafter.

The town’s ex-MLA Shivanand Singh (Rajat Kapoor) wants to win the upcoming elections at any cost, so he goes out of the way to woo Dalits and those in the lower classes to vote for him. 

Meanwhile, Deepak Kumar (Parambrata Chatterjee) who is housed in the Prison is partly looked up by his comrades inside the Prison while he has constant fights with his fellow inmates who are from the upper caste. Durgesh Pratap Singh (Satyadeep Mishra), Superintendent of Police is torn between getting a life sentence for Deepak and the overtures by Shivanand, for the Politician wants peace in town until elections are over. Jagmohan Kumar (Suneel Sinha) is the wolf in tiger’s clothes – perhaps, he doesn’t come around even as a wolf, rather an erudite old man who is the uncle of Abhimanyu and also solemnises the wedding with Kasturi’s parents.

Midway in to the series, the tightly-kept plot is broken abruptly that Abhimanyu and Deepak are brothers and brought up by Jagmohan. Abhimanyu sneaks inside the prison along with his to-be father-in-law and sets the stage for the big night. Comrades, on the other side are getting ready to attack the Prison to free their brethren, attack the CRPF camp in the outskirts of the city, storm the college where the ballot boxes are kept and also bomb the bunglows of the SP and District Judge – a completely, well planned orchestration.

On the eve of the Baraat – the wedding night, Kasturi is eagerly looking forward to the much anticipated union. In fact, this is the scene where the webseries begins initially and is cut to flashback. What follows (in the last episode) is 20 mins of chaos even as the entire town is fully taken over by the Naxals. There are gunfights and shootouts which happen between the police and the outfit, many lives are lost. Naxals parade through the town and announce that the public should not step out and that their war is only against the establishment.

All through, Abhimanyu has indeed formed a deep bonding with Kasturi and seems to be really in love with her. So much so, that the two get physically intimate even before the wedding. At times, his “distraction” is deeply questioned by Jagmohan of his real intentions and the purpose of the movement. 

Is Deepak eventually freed from the prison? Do Abhimanyu & Kasturi get married later on? That’s the climax for you to watch out for.

Very well made web series in fact, with part truth and more fiction. The visuals are fantastic and the songs play as a montage only were really required. Over all a good watch, I must say.


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