Jehanabad-Of Love & War review: Sweet love story amid a bloody revolution makes for a thrilling watch
Jehanabad - Of Love & War is a love story in the times of a bloody revolution with an unexpected connection between the two. The 10-episodes series is thrilling and touching at the same time.
Jehanabad has a certain smell (charm) to it, just like there’s a peculiar, tempting smell of an expensive cigar, as the song “Kaala sooraj kaale badal aur kaali shaam, Is safar ke O musafir tujhko laal salaam” defines the mood of a bloody, armed revolution. The new web series stands apart from the sea of patriotic spy dramas and its certainly high on thrill as a sweet love story tugs at the heartstrings with a revolution thriving in the background. Jehanabad is Rajiv Barnwal’s new directorial after his recently released Netflix film Vadh, starring Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra. The show takes the audience back to the Naxal revolution in Bihar in 2005, led by those who wanted to overthrow a system which differentiated them over their caste. Also read: Parambrata Chattopadhyay: Content in Hindi is considered to be national content, reaches wider audience
Rajiv Barnwal immerses the viewer into the world of Jehanabad quickly enough. A Naxal commander Deepak Kumar (Parambrata Chattopadhyay), is languishing in a district jail, waiting to be freed in what is billed as the most impossible jailbreak. In the same town, a love story blossoms between a much-loved single child of a middle-class family (Harshita Gaur) and the ideal good boy - English professor Abhimanyu Singh (Ritwik Bhowmik). Both the stories run parallel and keep the viewer intrigued and glued to the screen, flourishing on their own. But when the two stories cross paths with each other, many lives are put at stake. While the small town love story looks real and authentic, raising stakes with each passing day; a plan for an intended jailbreak to free Deepak Kumar also gains momentum with the fateful day clashing with the date of the couple’s wedding.
Parambratta is attractive in a negative role. He makes small but compulsory appearances in each episode and makes a lasting impact in each one. His well-read character is wise and violent at the same time. The show has the love story in the forefront but revolves around Parambratta’s character who is the real reason behind why and how things happen in this side of Bihar. He, who has already proved his mettle in Kahani, Bulbbul and the many Bengali films, does it with as much finesse as the character written by Rajeev. Ritwik, too, portrays the quiet English professor in formals with excellence. He is shy and too well mannered but has an aura of suspense around him behind those rimless glasses. He falls in love with Harshita, a carefree college student who doesn’t bat an eyelid in doing what her heart desires. It’s a welcome change to see a small town girl so free spirited and daring although she comes across as foolish at times, sometimes even too fictitious. Satyadeep Mishra has been acing patriotic roles one after another now. After playing a spy in Mukhbir, the actor plays a fearless policeman in this one but does believe in maintaining the status quo with those wielding power.
Naxalism is quite in control in Bihar and the adjoining areas but the show set in 2005, reminds viewers of what all that was behind a bloody revolution. There is violence, sacrifice, revenge, murder, mayhem and how the men of law also showed resilience in dealing with them. What I liked about the show is, unlike the usual depiction, it doesn’t downplay the police forces in Bihar with claims of corruption and does its bit in showing how they too fought hard against the Naxals.
The back story behind Deepak Kumar and Abhimanyu Singh isn’t revealed. But Jehanabad definitely stands out for the crisp storytelling by Rajiv Barnwal and Satyanshu Singh and how they make sure to balance the hard-hitting portions with romance, all with a heavy serving of tension and suspense in every scene. There is a line in the film as a character asks if sacrificing innocent lives for a cause was right, and he gets an answer “it is indeed wrong, but one has to choose sides in a war”. The picturisation is as impactful as the screenplay and dialogues with a dash of local music adding to the mood. The story somehow looks slightly predictable if you are on an overdose of thrillers but, it is undoubtedly entertaining and doesn’t let the viewer slip for even a moment. This one is definitely yet another good watch from Sony Liv. It would have been lovely had there been an entire long version of the beautiful song – Kaale Baadal which adds to the impact every time it’s played.
Jehanabad - Of Love & War
Cast: Ritwik Bhowmik, Harshita Shekhar Gaur, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Rajat Kapoor, Satyadeep Mishra
Director: Rajeev Barnwal, Satyanshu Singh