Paanch Phoron review: Shades of Love

Antara Chakraborthy
Paanch Phoron

All the seasons of Paanch Phoron are streaming on Bengali OTT platform Hoichoi.

Anthologies with each segment helmed by a different director are all the craze right now. Hoichoi’s Paanch Phoron is a similar effort where five directors narrate five different tales of “love”.

We experience many types of love. Paanch Phoron is an attempt to delve into those little experiences. The first episode (my favourite) of Season 1 is a beautiful take on innocent love that happens in life before you even understand what love is. Directed by Arka Ganguly, the episode is titled Phoringer Bou (dragonfly’s wife). The setting is a small, suburban town where a typical, loving middle-class family, comprising a husband, wife and their introverted 6-year-old daughter who is affectionately called “Mammam”, reside. The shy girl gets “married” to a dragonfly, as part of a game by her new playmates but she gets affected by the incident. Mammam cares for the dragonfly as a wife does for her husband, and struggles to explain what she is doing to her parents. The episode takes its own time, but it never bothers us. The slow pace shows us exactly how laidback life is in a small town. The music, picturization and the director’s eye for detail make the episode a very memorable one.

Similarly, the third episode titled Lilith takes place in a dystopic Dhaka. In the not-so-distant future, a new government initiative called National Truth Rating is the norm. A bionic chip inserted in a citizen's body tracks and monitors any instance of a lie and there are penalties for a low score. The concept is truly fascinating and engaging. The point that love transcends all is driven to us in the most imaginative way possible.

The second season also manages to stay on the same course, much to my delight. There is an episode that tackles love after divorce. Without revealing much, let me say that the circumstances of the episode coupled with the actors' performances truly tugs at the heart-strings. The director (Arka Ganguly again) shows an evolved understanding of what love is. As a viewer, I am left thinking and definitely wanting more.

Both the seasons are star-studded with prominent Indian and Bangladeshi actors like Jaya Ahsan, Anirban Bhattacharya, Siam Ahmed, Masuma Rahman Nabila, Sohini Sarkar and Sourav Chakraborty among others elevating this show to new heights. If you, like me, struggle to understand love in all of its different forms, Paanch Phoron will make you feel a broad spectrum of emotions.

The second season of the anthology web series was released on the Bengali streaming platform, Hoichoi, this Valentine’s Day.