Is Paatal Lok a True Story?

Paatal Lok‘ unfolds like a gritty crime drama that heads into the dark, political badlands. The show’s narrative has two layers where one revolves around the life of an elite Delhi-based news reporter named Sanjeev Mehra, while the other gives us a very personal and immersive account of a struggling lower-class cop named Hathi Ram. Both of these narratives contrast and complement each other, eventually leading up to some shocking revelations. The show creates a compelling amalgamation of real-life allegories and fictional melodrama which makes you wonder how much of it is based on real life. Well, here’s the answer to that.

Is Patal Lok Based on a True Story?

Many characters and plot points of ‘Paatal Lok’ are a work of fiction. However, the core ideas behind the show have been loosely adapted from the book The Story of My Assassins written by  Tarun J. Tejpal. The book recalls the real-life incidents of journalist Tarun Tejpal, whose life drastically changed after five hitmen were captured by the Delhi police for conspiring his murder. The book primarily revolves around Tarun’s own investigation surrounding the backgrounds of his murderers which eventually leads him to the mastermind behind them. So, yes, in a lot of ways, ‘Paatal Lok’ is based on journalist Tarun Tejpal’s life.

Just like series, with a tinge of eroticism and extreme suspense, the book also explores class divides, poverty, and corruption in India. If you’ve seen the show, you might have already figured out that Sanjeev Mehra’s character, played by Neeraj Kabi, is a representation of journalist Tarun Tejpal. Just like Tarun, Sanjeev Mehra goes through a major catharsis and is forced to re-examine his own morals and principles after he learns the truth behind his aspiring murderers.

From what we know, Inspector Hathi, the main character of the show, is a work of fiction. But other than him, another prominent character from the show that most would be able to recall is the ruthless cold-blooded killer, Vishal Tyagi. Vishal Tyagi’s character is also inspired by a real criminal named Bhupinder Tyagi, who was the prime suspect of Tarun Tejpal’s attempted assassination. Just like Vishal Tyagi, Bhupinder also had a long history of violence and committed his crimes under the wing of a powerful Bihari minister.

Several sources also confirm that Bhupinder and his team’s plan for murdering Tarun Tejpal had a lot to do with their criminal’s links with ISI. With these murders, the ISI had plans of disrupting the political scenario of India. Even in the series, the involvement of the ISI becomes one major plot point, however, the truth turns out to be a lot more complex than that. Moreover, exactly like the series, Tyagi and his men were arrested by the police on the Outer Ring Road in North Delhi and several weapons, along with a huge cache of ammunition, were discovered in their vehicle. Other information regarding the real-life incidents of this case is not in the public domain. However, with the limited information that we have, it becomes evident that ‘Paatal Lok’ is very close to reality.

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