ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deconstruction of a Nation through Subaltern Voices

Paatal Lok

Paatal Lok is a ruthless deconstruction of contemporary India with its disturbing social stratification.

With the expression of dissent through popular culture now stronger than ever, Paatal Lok (2020) is one of the recent web series that have adopted a strong and critical vocabulary in picturing an India where casteism, sexism and racism are disturbingly transparent. The unflinching depictions of structural violence, majoritarian bigotry, manufactured narratives, proliferation of hate crime, along with a fiery comment on the present state of affairs make Paatal Lok a ruthless deconstruction of contemporary India.

In Paatal Lok, along with a nation at its fringes, we find lives that exist on the margins, and the exploitation, discri­mination, and oppression we have unquestioningly or unknowingly internalised under a manipulative claim of normalcy. This is compared and contrasted with our inherently hierarchical social structure that is seemingly impossible to dismantle. Drawing parallels with mythical realms, the protagonist Hathi Ram Chaudhary—a world-weary beat cop tormented by his struggles at levels personal and professional, and of affairs political—proclaims the stratified lives of us beings: right at the top is swarg lok (the heavens) where the gods reside; in the middle is dharti lok (the earth) where humans live; and at the very bottom is paatal lok (the netherworld) that is inhabited by insects.

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Updated On : 7th Apr, 2021

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