The Past Is Prologue
Episode 6 of Paatal Lok begins with a young Kabir on a train, opening a pot of food and causing a lady sitting opposite to begin vomiting. As he looks out the window he sees protestors marching ominously up to their carriage.
Back in the present, Chaudhary and Ansari arrive to speak to a property dealer. Only midway through Chaudhary receives a call from Kaaliya telling him the police are wrong and to meet at the station. Once together, we cut back in time and see the moments Kaaliya and Cheeni first met on the train carriage and the troubled past Cheeni endured thanks to his parents leaving him on the train all alone.
“Human kids are as hard to kill as cockroaches,” Kaaliya tells the officer and although his remarks are heart-wrenching, they perfectly capture the mood of the montage that follows. We see these two growing up together and defying the odds; a beautiful scene of triumph and surviving as Cheeni eventually gets her freedom thanks to the boss being chopped up by a rival gang.
Back in the present Kaaliya pleads with Chaudhary to help her as she has nothing to do with the crime itself.
Meanwhile, Siddha’s stunt with the gun puts Raju in hot water when Anil, the gang leader, comes round demanding his gun back. Siddha heads back home and pleads with his father to give him the pistol but for now he refuses.
Dolly tries her best to rekindle the spark she’s lost with Sanjeev but it’s no good. She pleads with him to try for a baby together but he tells her to stop, gently pushing her off him while she tells him, in no uncertain terms, that she’s aware he’s having an affair.
Later that evening, Sanjeev takes to the news again and debates over the attack against the Indian Republic and whether he’s the only target. At the same time, Ansari and Chaudhary uncover more issues as Kabir’s record has some glaring issues present. This brings Chaudhary and Ansari to Kabir’s father where they continue to dive into his past and learn more about Kabir’s Muslim heritage, including the moments on the train we saw before.
Kabir’s father is beaten infront of a young Kabir who sobs as his brother is mercilessly stabbed in the stomach. This ironically was the moment that radicalized this young man and acted as the catalyst that turned him to the side of crime, all because of racial hatred.
Raju confronts Siddha about the pistol and after smacking him across the face, uses this as a final warning before something bad happens to him. Back home, Chaudhary learns what’s happened thanks to Siddha’s bruised lip and snaps, finally understanding why he son wanted the gun. He stuffs the pistol in his jeans, grabs the gun and takes Siddha with him on the way to meeting Raju. He fights his way into Anil’s estate where he hands over the gun and promises that if anyone goes near Siddha, they’re dead.
In prison, Kabir is attacked and slashed across the throat by another inmate. This shocking incident brings Chaudhary to the hospital where Sara stands waiting for them with the notebook she swiped at the press conference last episode. She suspects a politician from a rival party known as Bajpayee plotted Sanjeev’s death and is the ringleader behind this.
As Chaudhary starts going through the newspaper articles he finds a picture of Rajbir Gujjar, Tyagi’s sport teacher. It turns out he’s part of Bajpayee’s security and a cop, which he failed to disclose last time they met, which is where the episode ends.
Racial hatred has been an issue presented right the way through the series and in that respect I can completely understand why some people have been turned away from this series. Regardless of political affiliation or ideologies, Paatal Lok has nailed its story so far though and the way this has been presented with an empathetic look at these four troubled suspects is a really clever idea that’s, so far at least, paid off really well.
There’s a lot to like about this series and the mystery is really starting to heat up now as Chaudhary gets ever closer to discovering the truth about what’s happening.