Panchayat writer Chandan Kumar: Real people, real drama with entertainment at forefront was the idea

Writing used to be a thankless job in the Hindi film industry a few years ago as all the credit for a film’s success used to go to the actors or the director. The amount of hardship and sleepless nights a writer spends in creating a story was never acknowledged. However, with more content driven now being made, writers are also getting their due. One such writer who is being hugely admired these days is Chandan Kumar, who has penned down the Amazon webseries Panchayat.

After the stupendous success of season 2 of the show, many were eager to know about the man who wrote such an interesting script with such colorful characters. Indianexpress.com caught up with Chandan to know what went behind the conceptualisation of Panchayat.

“TVF wanted to create a show with rural India in the centre. We live in urban India. But what happens when a man from a cosmopolitan city is made to live in a village. So an urban guy in a rural set up was the idea. What challenges he faces and how he deals with them. His challenges from him should be real but it should come across in a humorous and entertaining way. That was how we thought of Panchayat. Real people with real drama,” said Chandan.

Chandan believes his personal experience of living in a village helped him etch out the characters so well. “See when you are familiar with that world, it becomes easy for you to write about it. Me being from Patna used to visit my village Siyarampur often. The memory of people there is still in my mind. And most of the anecdotes that you see in Panchayat like the funny discussion between Banrakas and Binod or between Prahlad, Pradhan ji and Vikas are from my own experience,” said the writer adding that “we made sure the casting should be perfect.”

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Talking further about the story of Panchayat, Chandan said it also deals with the real issue in the society. “You see the culture of Pradhanpati where the husband of a woman Pradhan holding the real power is still prevalent. And it’s not just restricted to villages. It happens in cities too. So we wanted to highlight those realities. My director Deepak Mishra and I had the concept clear. He also comes from Varanasi and he too understands the ground reality well. So it came easy to us.”

Born in Patna, Chandan completed his engineering from Dehradun. But it was his passion for writing that made him quit his engineering job and become a writer at Faking News, a satirical portal. Talking about his journey from Patna to Mumbai, Chandan said, “My passion to write brought me here. I wanted to do something different. I knew of the struggle people face in the entertainment industry in Mumbai so I didn’t quit my job. In 2015, I joined TVF and wrote sketches for some of their videos. I got a chance to write the second episode of Humorously Yours. It was appreciated and then Panchayat happened.“

Talking about writers not getting the recognition and remuneration as actors get, Chandan said “things are improving now”. “See writing is very subjective. If a show or a film that you have written becomes a hit, you are flooded with offers. But since writing is different from other jobs, you have to be selective also. Talking about financial security of actors, again as I said things have changed now. It’s not that you are now remunerated well. If you write decently, you will have a job.”

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