‘Paashbalish’ Recap & Review: The Story Has Potential, But The Execution Is Poor

There’s a lot going on in Paashbalish. Helmed by Korok Murmu, the Zee5 Global’s show centers on a man who’s looking for his lost childhood love. At the same time, a never-ending rivalry between two groups of people is causing unnecessary violence. There are several other subplots, all of which come together by the end. But does this whole mashup actually work out? Let us get into that.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens in the series?

Chandu is an orphan who lives in the police station in Pathorkuchi. He’s timid and most likely on the spectrum (no, the show never goes there), but that doesn’t stop him from living his life as best as possible. It’s not much, other than tending his two pets—a rooster and a female dog—cooking food during the festivities and also some singing. However, Chandu has one major reason to live for, which happens to be Anchal. She’s a talented journalist who happens to be the daughter of rich politician Mahadev Mallick. But this is not a poor orphan guy falling for a rich girl story. Anchal is actually Mampi, Chandu’s childhood sweetheart, who doesn’t seem to remember him. They were both in an orphanage until they got separated under terrible circumstances. The boy ended up in the police station, while the girl got the chance to grow up and achieve all the good things in life. 

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But as fate would have it, Anchal and Chandu come face-to-face, thanks to her working with SDPO Adhiraj Sen on a drug peddling case. The accused in the case are from the Paharbanshi tribe, who are like the kryptonite to Mahadev’s Superman. Not that Mahadev is some epitome of goodness, as we get to know that he actually murdered a Paharbanshi once upon a time, and their current leader, Borda, is none other than the son of the victim. The first twist in this twisted tale comes with the revelation that Borda, aka Swadesh, is actually in a relationship with Anchal. Much later in the show, we get to know that he’s in it for revenge against Mahadev. 

Thanks to Anchal’s involvement in their men getting arrested, one Paharbanshi man seeks out revenge and tries to kill her by throwing a bomb. Not only does Chandu save Anchal by being at the right place at the right time, he also takes care of the Paharbanshi man, Kala. Meanwhile, Mahadev’s biological son turns out to be an abusive piece of garbage who keeps harassing Anchal constantly. Upon witnessing this, Chandu also kills him. In another subplot, police constable Pintu also gets murdered for killing Chandu’s pet rooster. Chandu gets heartbroken after getting to know about Anchal and Swadesh’s relationship, and at the same time, the feud between Mahadev and the Paharbanshis reaches boiling point. Anchal decides to go away with Swadesh, but he shows his real intention by drugging her and threatening Mahadev. Chandu rescues Anchal and tells her everything about who they really are. She believes him, but upon realizing Chandu is no good news either, Anchal flees. SDPO Sen manages to rescue Anchal and also arrest Chandu for the murders. 

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At the police station, Swadesh confesses everything but also admits that he has fallen in love with Anchal. His betrayal is enough for Anchal to break up with him. On their way home, Anchal and Mahadev are interrupted by Chandu and his twin brother, Shib Thakur. This is obviously the grand twist, which reveals that there were always two of them. Chandu never murdered anyone, it was Shib Thakur who took it upon himself to punish the evil. As Mahadev’s men arrive and start beating the brothers, Anchal starts feeling bad and pleads with her father to let them go. But Mahadev insults his own daughter instead. This infuriates Anchal, and she decides to leave with the twins and cross the border. She does exactly that, and as Shib Thakur surrenders to the police, Anchal and Chandu manage to cross the barbed-wire fence. Sadly, they get shot from afar by Mahadev and die on the spot. A dream sequence shows Chandu and Anchal, all smiling and happy together.


Final Thoughts

In the Bengali OTT space, Zee5 tends to perform quite a bit better than its rival, Hoichoi. Unlike most of the atrocities Hoichoi churns out every now and then, Zee5 shows at least have proper stories. Paashbalish is not an exception in that case, which is the good news. There’s also zero attempt at keeping the prospects of another season open, which is refreshing. Sadly, it suffers from the same issue that cripples the majority of Bengali web series: terrible writing and a hurried climax that fails to pack any punch. Despite having a great opportunity with the story they had in hand, Paashbalish fails to deliver.

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The show gets it quite right with the casting, though. Isha Saha, Suhotra Mukhopadhyay, and Sourav Das are all formidable names in the Bengali webspace, with millions of fans. However, Isha’s acting is not quite convincing, and Sourav keeps hamming throughout the show. Suhotra has better opportunities than these two, and he does put in a lot of effort, which can be seen in his performance. Rishi Kaushik, who used to be a television heartthrob once upon a time, is just about okay as SDPO Adhiraj Sen. The pick of the lot in terms of performance here has to be actor Sankar Debnath, who plays Mahadev. 

The problem with Paashbalish is not only the bad writing and sub-par acting; the show doesn’t get it right with the ideas it tries to pitch either. A lot of things, including Anchal’s sudden change of heart during the climax, seem quite hard to believe. The way Paashbalish tries too hard to establish the romance between Chandu and Anchal is quite amateurish. The backstories of the characters are also quite half-baked, and this show doesn’t feel the need of giving you any proper explanation. While it is never boring, in the end, watching Paashbalish feels like a waste of time, if I have to be really honest here.

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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