Title: Jehanabad: Of Love and War
Cast: Harshita Gaur, Ritwik Bhowmik, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Rajesh Jais, Sonal Jha
Director: Rajeev Barnwal, Satyanshu Singh.
Jehanabad: Of Love and War is a 10-episode web series that follows the events leading up to the 2005 Jehanabad jailbreak in Bihar, India. This event saw hundreds of Communist Party of India (Maoist) members march into the town and free imprisoned comrades, resulting in a dramatic showdown with security forces. The series weaves together three plot strands that all intersect in the run-up to the jailbreak, including the romance between college student Kasturi (Harshita Gaur) and her English professor Abhimanyu (Ritwik Bhowmik), the naxalite planning of the jailbreak to rescue their leader Deepak Kumar (Parambrata Chattopadhyay), and the politics surrounding an upcoming election in the region.
The series has been created and written by Rajeev Barnwal and directed by him and Satyanshu Singh. While the jailbreak is the driving force behind the events of the series, a love story between Kasturi and Abhimanyu runs parallel to it. This romantic subplot, however, is a source of conflict for some viewers, as it detracts from the examination of the political realities in Bihar in 2005. The show balances this love story with elements of a conspiracy thriller, as the Maoists meticulously plan the jailbreak. The political backdrop of the election, with upper-caste politician Shivanand (Rajat Kapoor) paying lip service to the disenfranchised, further complicates the events leading up to the jailbreak.
The series does a good job of presenting the political motivations behind the Maoists and their revolutionary zeal. Through the show’s depiction of the jailbreak and its aftermath, the series offers insights into the capacity for sacrifice and dedication that the Maoists possess. The show’s portrayal of the jailbreak is intense, with meetings in darkened corners and deception in broad daylight. This element of the series is the most absorbing, and the series manages to present the events of the jailbreak as a conspiracy thriller.
The cast of the series features notable performers, including Harshita Gaur as Kasturi, who is perky and determined, and Rajesh Jais and Sonal Jha as Kasturi’s long-suffering parents. Satyadeep Mishra as the well-meaning police officer Durgesh and Suneel Sinha as a Maoist conspirator are also standout performers in the series. Despite the presence of these strong actors, some viewers have criticized the series for relying too heavily on its source material, rather than exploring the political context in more depth.
In conclusion, Jehanabad: Of Love and War offers a unique perspective on the events leading up to the 2005 Jehanabad jailbreak in Bihar. While the love story between Kasturi and Abhimanyu may detract from the examination of the political context, the series still offers insights into the motivations and dedication of the Maoists. The political backdrop of the election and the depiction of the jailbreak as a conspiracy thriller make this series an intense and absorbing watch. With notable performances from the cast, Jehanabad: Of Love and War is definitely worth a watch for those interested in political dramas and thrillers.