This season, if you are looking to keep things “lauki” (low-key), then you are in for a treat. Have you noticed the large billboards in your city displaying laukis? Yes, you are thinking along the right lines. The Viral Fever, the production house behind Panchayat, has cleverly embraced the bottle gourd as a symbol for its highly anticipated third season, creating a buzz around the series’ return with a campaign that blends humor and excitement, just like the show itself.

Toh phir shuru se shuru karte hain!

Season 1: A Breakthrough into Rural Reality

When Panchayat first premiered in 2020, it broke new ground with its authentic portrayal of rural life through a comedic lens. Centered around Abhishek Tripathi, a reluctant village secretary assigned to Phulera, it captured the intricacies of small-town India, introducing viewers to the concept of a “Pati-Sarpanch” (where the elected woman sarpanch is represented by her husband, the real decision-maker). Despite Abhishek’s struggle to escape Phulera and pursue an MBA, he found solace and a purpose in empowering Manju Devi, the actual sarpanch, by guiding her to perform her duties—including learning the national anthem.

The first season’s strength lay in its attention to detail, witty dialogue, and the slice-of-life vignettes that depicted everyday rural challenges: a tussle over a wheeled chair, searching for the panchayat office keys all day in the fields, and managing quirky characters like the Pati-Sarpanch Brij Bhushan (Raghubir Yadav) and his dutiful wife Manju Devi (Neena Gupta). Abhishek’s assistant Vikas (Chandan Roy) added an extra layer of humor and heart.

Jitendra Kumar in Panchayat Season 1


Season 2: Familiarity Breeds Excellence

With Panchayat Season 2, viewers were welcomed back to the familiar yet charming world of Phulera. This season built upon the first, following Abhishek as he settled into rural life. Though he was not entirely content, he grew closer to Brij Bhushan’s family, creating new dynamics that pitted him against a political rival while managing the endless stream of village issues.

Season 2 continued the show’s penchant for quirky but believable storytelling. Scenes of a government office relying on a hand pump for water and using its CCTV cameras to track stolen items underscored the humorous contradictions of village life. The show maintained its strength by not overreaching for comedic moments or moralizing on societal issues like patriarchy. Instead, it allowed the characters to live out their stories authentically, striking a fine balance between humor and pathos.

Jitendra Kumar in Panchayat Season 2


Season 3: Lauki’s Hype and a Marketing Masterstroke

The anticipation for Panchayat Season 3 was palpable. Fans were eager to see Abhishek continue his journey in Phulera, especially after the cliffhanger ending of Season 2. In a clever marketing twist, the campaign built excitement around a humble vegetable that has long been part of the show’s narrative—the lauki (bottle gourd). Prime Video launched an ingenious website and outdoor campaign, inviting fans to “pluck” laukis to unveil the release date. Billboards in Mumbai and Delhi featured the vegetable concealing the date, drawing attention with its curious placement.

By placing the lauki front and center, Prime Video highlighted its role as a subtle but persistent motif throughout the series, where it symbolizes rural simplicity and everyday perseverance. The lauki revealed Season 3’s release date through online and offline engagement, creating widespread excitement. From lauki-themed hoardings to gifting social media influencers, the marketing strategy captured the essence of the show’s warmth and humor while showcasing Panchayat as a “magic pill” to tackle life’s challenges with a smile.

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A Return Worth the Wait

Created by The Viral Fever and directed by Deepak Kumar Mishra, Panchayat Season 3 promises to deliver more of what has endeared it to viewers—authentic, heartfelt storytelling set against a rural Indian backdrop. The stellar ensemble cast of Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Raghubir Yadav, Faisal Malik, and Chandan Roy are poised to reprise their roles, bringing back the charm and endearing quirks that have made this series a beloved comfort watch.

With its genuine humor, engaging characters, and perceptive depiction of village life, Panchayat remains a slice-of-life masterpiece. The return of this series embodies the spirit of small-town India, reaffirming the show’s relevance while offering an escapist respite for urban viewers seeking the simplicity of Phulera once more from 28th May 2024.