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Jehanabad - Of Love And War

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
3.5 Star popcorn reviewss


The weekend is finally here and after a couple of dull weekends in terms of the number of releases, this weekend is looking a lot brighter. With multiple releases scheduled, lets get to them one by one. First up, I finished watching the new Hindi Webseries Jehanabad – Of Love & War which is streaming on SonyLiv. The content of SonyLiv has always been interesting in more ways than one. It is fresh only seldom falling below expectations. While I can’t remember a single below average series on SonyLiv, I wish to take a moment to applaud the creative team for backing projects which are solid in content.

When it comes to social commentaries or political dramas packaged on a web-show, I have always maintained that the differentiator lies in the ability to dig as deep as possible while addressing the ‘politics’ of the issue in the second or the third layer. The complexities of the area where the drama is set in coupled with an interesting bunch of characters would ideally formulate a gritty drama with the much needed texture. I must say that Jehanabad from its first look did tick many of the boxes. It also had a veteran Sudhir Mishra as the showrunner which automatically had me sold. So then does Jehanabad manage to impress, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

Jehanabad – Of Love and War follows a love story entangled between the politics of the area that features casteism and some other social elements. The story is gritty and intriguing particularly from a world building standpoint that makes for a compelling watch. The screenplay standing at 10 episodes ranging from 30 odd to 50 odd minutes does feel a little too long and this could easily have been reduced to an 8 episode series. But the events are interesting and something that keep you hooked.

The first thing which I absolutely loved about the drama was its world building, something which did add a lot of texture to the drama. It starts off with a wedding sequence that ends on a cliffhanger only to transport the drama to an extended flashback. During this period you are introduced to seemingly unrelated events unfolding within the same area of Jehanabad. So there is a local politician looking to flex his muscles to win an election, an activist jailed for his anti-governmental reforms, the prevalence of casteism and a budding love story. As things stand, love does blossom in the most unexpected places and it forms the core of the story.

The proceedings are interesting and intriguing and also very well textured. The writing does threaten to take off every now and then through moments which are thrilling and partially unexpected. The first 5 episodes have an intriguing buildup with a touch of social commentary thrown in. The twist at the halfway mark is shocking to say the least as I did not see that coming, although there may well have been clues interspersed in the screenplay. The ability of the writing to make the viewers believe a certain fact before making a U-turn was indeed commendable. It did setup an interesting conclusion to the series. But the knockout punch did not arrive sadly.

The events start getting repetitive although the slide is not steep. The drama is still watchable and intriguing but I did feel that some portions of the screenplay could easily have been trimmed here. Also, I did have minor issues with a few characters playing the disappearing act. The character traits which were quite well defined earlier on, suddenly went missing as the writing did go around in circles to an extent. The events leading up to the final act where the events of the opening act merge did promise a thrilling finale. But the final act did seem slightly odd although the cliffhanger was good. But taking nothing away from its journey, the screenplay is still well written and makes for a gritty and intriguing watch.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are sharp and highlight some of the social issues very well without passing a judgement. The music is rustic and captures the vibe of the drama really well. The BGM is splendid and elevates the drama to new heights. The cinematography does capture a few frames brilliantly. The editing is sharp as well. The director’s chair is shared by Rajeev Barnwal and Satyanshu Singh. And the direction is pretty good, keeping the viewers on tenterhooks and invested right throughout the drama. If anything, the spiraling second half of the series could have been trimmed a bit for a better impact. But the direction is really good here.


The performances by the ensemble cast is excellent. Ankur Thakur as Trilok, Danish Kalra as Sonu and Abhishek Mishra as Suraj Singh have their moments to shine. Priyasha Bhardwaj as Kamini,  Priyanqa Shekhar as Deepti and Shikha Chauhan as Ayesha are first rate and contribute well to the screenplay. Poulomi Das as Lakshmi is fiery and makes her presence felt really well. Satyadeep Misra as Durgesh is such a natural onscreen and he does a good job although I did feel that his character was slightly one-dimensional. Rajat Kapoor as the wily politician Shivanand is terrific to watch. Parambrata Chattopadhyay is a great actor and he is lovely to watch as Deepak. If anything, his character could have been a little more meaty especially after the initial promise that his character shows. But he is intimidating and brilliant here.

Rajesh Jais as Rajendra Mishra is earnest and sincere. Sonal Jha as Kumud is wonderful to watch as well. Suneel Sinha is such a wonderful actor and he is outstanding here as Jagmohan. I really wish I get to see him more often! Harshita Gaur as Kasturi looks so pretty and is absolutely brilliant here. I see a vast improvement in her acting chops from her Mirzapur days. Ritwik Bhowmik as Abhimanyu is wonderfully restrained and delivers probably the best  performance of his young career so far. There is an ease to his character that makes him affable in a character that also has range!


Despite a few shortcomings, Jehanabad – Of Love And War is a gritty drama with good performances that makes for a compelling watch. Available on SonyLiv.

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