Mash it up with the Monkeys:
AddaTimes released its brand new web series The Mashup Monkeys on the 2 of February. Nirjhar Mitra, making his first official debut in the entertainment arena presented a story which was rather unique in its essence and daring in its making. To mention it briefly, the story is about three young characters Papai, Rhonty and Dodo who pops a pill in a rave party and this event leads to the chaos which is unfolded in the rest of the series. While Dodo’s belly inflates due to pregnancy, Ronty starts having flashes from the future and Papai is endowed with Hulk-like power. The narrative proceeds when these three men try to get hold of the drug dealer and in the course get involved in deeper crimes. There is of course a Hitchcockian-twist at the end of the story which definitely keeps way for a sequel in future.
The Mashup Monkeys is shot in the district of Jalpaiguri acquainting us not only with the various spaces of city but the natural accented Bengali (Bangal Bhasha) spoken by the characters makes them interesting and engages the audience at the same time. The drab and murky setting adds on to the suspense that supports the narrative. The narration of the story is rather interesting as it starts with a chronological narration but stops at a point and the story goes back in flashback (The doctor getting kidnapped by the three men). The suspense is further built using the device of peeking into the future through the character of Ronty. Every episode ends with a cliff hanging suspense and the audience is not left with much of a choice.
Watch the webisodes here:
Unlike a debutante director would, there were some mind-blowing shots taken by Nirjhar Mitra which were nothing short of a treat to the eyes. The drone shot almost at the end of the last episode, when Mani dies invokes a kind of visual pleasure and as the camera pans out, the incident seems miniscule as opposed to the magnificent backdrop. The tracking shot of the Toto with Papai, Ronty, Dodo and the drug dealer seated inside it through deserted roads of Jalpaiguri in the middle of the night is undoubtedly bold and beautiful. Not following the conventional action-reaction shot technique there is use of a mirror during a conversation between the shopkeeper and Papai in the shop. There are recurrences of sudden blank black frames in the middle of some episodes which create some sort of a signature of the director. Another conspicuous device is when the characters break the fourth wall and talks among themselves and the audience is aware of the camera recording a fiction. In the last episode, the confession of the Doctor about his hatred and fear towards Mani goes in a single uncut shot which spans for more than seven minutes. This shot breaks the norms and codes of conventional film-making, but rather than causing monotony, this shot ads to the integrity of the conversation as a whole.
Another engaging aspect of The Mashup Monkeys is the music of the series which is done by Mainak Majumder. The serial track in itself engages the viewer and is in perfect semblance with the story. The sound as a device often precedes the action on screen which is also a recurrent technique that one can see (The sound of the bullet echoing before we see that Mani has killed herself). I personally loved how last episode starts with Dodo singing a lullaby for his unborn child (possibly daughter). The actors of the series are mostly non-professional but they have acted immensely well and it is somewhat a success for the director again, to bring out the best from his cast.
To sum up, it can be said that with a handful of good work that we come across in the Bengali entertainment scene, The Mashup Monkeys is definitely worth a watch, more so, to appreciate immense effort taken by a group of young artists.
Review by: Rituparna Konar.