Jehanabad is a small town in the state of Bihar. It’s a town where caste, corruption, and politics dominate the fate of its residents. For the first five episodes of Rajeev Barnwal & Satyanshu Singh’s SonyLiv series, Jehanabad – of Love & War (2023), two parallel stories run without intertwining with each other.

The first plot is a love story featuring Abhimanyu (Rithwik Bhowmik) and Kasturi Mishra (Harshita Gaur). The other story features a rebellious Naxalite, Deepak Kumar (Parambrata Chatterjee), and SP Durgesh Pratap Singh (Satyadeep Mishra).

Both narratives have one thing in common — literature. As a literature professor, Abhimanyu is seen quoting Pablo Neruda’s poem on love and revolution in the first episode. It’s a subtle hint at what’s about to follow. Deepak Kumar, the other protagonist, is seen reading Plato, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and Socrates while sitting in Jehanabad’s prison.

Kasturi falls for her English professor, Abhimanyu. He is different from the rest of the men she has seen in her town. Abhimanyu is educated, respectful, and has goals in life. Moreover, he motivates Kasturi to dream big and not let traditions and culture hold her back. The show tries to imitate Paatal Lok and Mirzapur in terms of narration and character portrayal. Alas, it succeeds only to a certain extent.

Enter Rajat Kapoor as a politician who is running for the upcoming elections. He is the best part of the entire show. His character is quirky and has all shades of gray. “Ghar ki gai ke doodh se bana hai,” he utters this line in almost every episode to the guests who visit him. He is a good friend but a questionable politician. He is best friends with Kasturi’s father and becomes a major factor in helping her parents accept her relationship with Abhimanyu.

All the characters are strong, including the supporting characters. Deepak Kumar is a fierce Naxalite who kills a man accused of murdering a college student inside the courtroom as Kasturi and Abhimanyu watch this whole incident unravel before their eyes. The people in the courtroom are equally horrified, but Deepak shows no remorse. It’s evident that he has been through a lot and won’t back down from whatever he and his team are planning.

The show is based on a true story that took place in the year 2005. It’s about the infamous jailbreak that wreaked havoc in Jehanabad. The series depicts the same story of the Naxal leader’s escape from prison. Six hundred inmates were present in the jail during the Naxalites’ attack. The Naxalites, along with 341 prisoners, escaped the same night.

Jehanabad - Of Love & War (2023) Review

The star of the show is Kasturi Mishra. She is confrontational and doesn’t shy away from keeping her demands on the table. Unlike typical heroines who want to be chased by their beau, Kasturi Mishra is the chaser here. She doesn’t hesitate to confess her love to Abhimanyu.

Kasturi takes the entire burden of pursuing the relationship on her shoulders and isn’t afraid of telling her parents about it, either. She takes a stand for her love and is adamant about marrying him. However, their romance gets a little boring at times.

On the other hand, Abhimanyu comes off as a reserved person, but his appearance is deceptive. There is more to him than what he leads his girlfriend and students to believe. However, his suspicious character is quite predictable. The show has little to offer in terms of surprising its audience and keeping them hooked to their seats.

The highlight of this show is Deepak’s escape from prison. The way his fellow Naxalites send him messages with the help of thick books and how he stands up for his people is commendable. Above all, the shootout scenes are gripping. The storyline falls flat here and there but makes up for it during the climax.

The jailbreak is scheduled on the day of Kasturi and Abhimanyu’s wedding. Meanwhile, Deepak and his men (both inside and outside the jail) are ready with ammunition and explosives. Their wedding is interrupted, and a massive shootout takes place between the Naxalites and the police resulting in collateral damage.

Deepak and Abhimanyu’s backstory isn’t revealed, and we don’t know why they have so much angst against the system. The dialogues, screenplay, and characters set the right mood for anyone who likes bloodshed, politics, and drama.

Even though the story is predictable from the first episode, it doesn’t ruin anything. If you turn a blind eye to the loopholes, you will definitely find this series entertaining, and the tune of “Kaala sooraj kaale badal aur kaali shaam” will linger in your minds long after you’ve finished binging the show.

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Watch Jehanabad – Of Love & War (2023) Trailer

Jehanabad – Of Love & War (2023) Links: IMDb, Wikipedia
Jehanabad – Of Love & War (2023) Cast: Amarnath Jha, Shatrughan Kumar, Naushaad Abbas
Where to watch Jehanabad - Of Love & War

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