Pabitra Puppies season 1 review: The unexplained mysterious connection with corona
Samarpita Das -
Digital Premiere Date2020-06-12
Debaloy BhattacharyaProducer(s) :
Mahendra Soni, Shrikant Mohta
Vikram Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar, Saayoni Ghosh, Sayan Ghosh, Saurav Das, Ankita Chakraborty, Debapriyo Bagchi & others
Cinematographer (DoP) :Music Director :
Production House :
SVF Entertainment Pvt Ltd.
A game is deciding the fate of a group of friends, as they drop dead one after the other while being stuck at home. But how? Was it suicide or planned murders?
What is the story about?
In the history of cinema, 2020, will be remembered as the year when most films were shot indoors. Cast conversed over video calls and chats and there was usually one person occupying the entire frame unless technologically edited. After Case Jaundice, this was the second web-series released on Hoichoi which was shot completely indoors. While Case Jaundice did not acknowledge the absence of the characters who were aesthetically supposed to be placed in their opposite direction, Pabitra Puppies acknowledge the shortcomings that took place due to the lockdown. Their first episode was even titled Lockdown Diaries.
In the middle of the lockdown, seven youngsters, from Kolkata, Mumbai and Chicago decided to open a group online and play a game (something akin to PubG), as they skip work, during work-from-home sessions. Each time they die in the virtual game, they find themselves mysteriously intertwined with that fate in real life. In each of the episodes, one life gets taken, and the friends finally become more aware of the strategy. Arnab, Elphina, Danish, Farooq, Chi, Dibi, soon learn that they are hacked by an outer power who timely plans to eliminate them, their worthless existence, to avenge the life of those migrants who died a brutal death in India’s Maharashtra.
The cast includes Vikram Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar, Saayoni Ghosh, RJ Sayan, Ankita Chakraborty, Debapriyo Bagchi, Saurav Das. Sohini Sarkar who is known for her skills as an actor is unable to be in her usual effortless self since most of the time she is forced to keep hold of the camera and address the presence of it. She is forced to perform for the phone, that’s held by her, and sadly that becomes slightly distracting an unbelievable. An excellent, nonchalant Sayan Ghosh who plays the role of Danish sadly remains only for the first episode, after which he commits suicide, by climbing inside a water tank, which according to him, (rather according to the writers) is called ‘drowning’.
The cast does what the cast is told, and they fail to work beyond it and put in some more effort. It was probably the lack of physical presence of an entire team of people which unfortunately discouraged each other to do better and bring in more life to the performance. All the actors were confined within the empty spaces of their own residence, thereby interacting only with the camera that was following them.
Debaloy Bhattacharya’s Pabitra Puppies was a script written too early without enough research on legal matters and other possible conclusions about their respective characters.
One guy ‘drowns’ himself in a water tank, yet not a single person from who uses the water feels the need to check the tank after the odour of a dead body coming from their tap?
Two girls commit suicide, and not a single member of their family care to report the death?
This was filmed during the lockdown, something which was acknowledged in the series itself, yet none of them had parents interrupting their conversations? There have been memes and videos of newsreaders conversations being interrupted by their offsprings. Actor Daniel Radcliffe, in one of his famous video interviews even shared the story of his lockdown where network interruption affected his on-air conversations. But these commoners, do not have one annoying roommate, or an interrupting parent to disrupt their conversations or game sessions?
Music and other departments
It appears that the makers have not used lapel or cable to separately capture the sound, hence most of the dialogues are delivered along with the ambience.
With certain characters, the camera slowly pendulums from the left to the right and right again, which slightly disrupts our attention span. It takes a break from indoor shoots in the third episode and captures glimpses of empty roads and empty elevators in the malls.
There’s an inclusion of ‘Aguner Porosh Moni’, the Rabindra Sangeet which fails to synch with the composition of the lyrics and the structure of the web-series.
You can tell that Pabitra Puppies is a quickly written script since it includes recent unfortunate circumstances which were faced by the migrants who are walking back home. In Aurangabad, migrants were found dead on railway tracks. However, later there was a suspicion of it being a case of murder and not suicide or accident since none of their bodies were found in nearby spaces.
Since this was a script that was quickly written it was more focused on the emotions hence the writers quickly missed the attention to details. There even comes a hacker in the get up of the professor from Money Heist. The addition of Netflix fandom does not end there, the series has an eerie connection with the popular web-series Creeped Out which also explored the downsides of being engaged to online games.
At a time when most youngsters are losing their jobs, left right and centre, the seven youngsters in Pabitra Puppies are unaware of their simple privileges, the fact that they have a job, the advantage to work from home. The first episode Lockdown Diaries exposes that we are more interested in gaming with our friends, rather than doing the paid work from home jobs. They cook their favourite meals and get their clicks ready for social media validation. Pabitra Puppies reflect the mundane humour found in the home staying middle-class people, who complain when their bosses (rightly) pick on them for not doing their jobs, but simultaneously.
It remains difficult to appreciate the spirit of the post, which has an ultra-leftist leaning, that believes in killing rich to avenge to the poor, thereby the present migrant situation in India was carelessly discussed. This hatred towards the bourgeois is a dangerous emotion because even when you murder a millionaire for having too much you are still taking away another person’s rights to live, simply because he had the finance which you didn’t. This act of the Naxalites became a famous movement in Bengal in the 60s which had broken order, structure and worst, left many children fatherless. Although various Bengali filmmakers have glorified it, a certain section of non-cinephiles is unable to forget the disorder the ultra-leftist movement brought with itself.
‘Tor eta detective thriller mone hocche, amar toh mone hocche eta ekta boring web-series jeta dekhte dekhte Amra shobai ghumiye porchi’ (you really think this is a detective series, I feel this is some kind of a boring web-series which has made me fall asleep.) It was probably at this point when the truth was told by the characters of the film.
Did I enjoy it?
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic started, people have blamed China’s official for not taking care of the deadly virus, and WHO for choosing to remain quiet about it. Other conspiracy theories have blamed the US for trying to put the blame on China. Another conspiracy theory claimed that this was a bioweapon made to kill the rich but unfortunately reached the doors of the underprivileged section of India. It relies more on upon the final conspiracy theory and justifies the death of six commoners, whose only faults were that they chose to be the financially secured, earning members of the society, who actually contribute to the economy when they chose to buy expensive phones.
Do I recommend it?
The ideologies are flawed, thereby even if you are interested to watch the series, it is vital not to get drifted by the ideas which they have tried to introduce in the series.