Kolkata, 30 Jun 2019 5:00 IST
The darker aspects of the film lack the charm that is mostly present in a thriller. Instead of creating a sense of anticipation, the film begins to weigh heavy upon the mind.
Saptaswa Basu’s debut film Network offers some interesting twists towards the climax; but the rest of the film is an extremely tiring watch.
Network is dark, without a moment of relief. Also, after all the ‘twists’, the climax, with an open ending that does not leave much room for speculation, simply triggers a feeling of exhaustion.
Basu’s ploy for his leading character to seek revenge is partly innovative, evil, but also unrealistic. There is no lack of logical connections in the ploy; but the idea also denies certain responsibilities of the laws and rules in society in an unrealistic manner.
At the same time, there is an underestimation of the mindset of the public, the wider audience of a reality show showcasing the private lives of celebrities.
The characters in the film are all dark. The only interesting aspect of their characterization is that all of them pay the price for their evil deeds and prove to be mere puppets in the hands of destiny.
Abhijit Ganguly (Saswata Chatterjee) is a film director who had delivered a series of flops once. He has decided to return to the industry after 12 years. He has lost his daughter and become extremely temperamental, agitated all the time.
Life takes an ugly turn when he learns he does not have much time left to live. That just makes him more desperate to make what he believes will be the last film of his life.
Shreya (Rini Ghosh) and Raj Sengupta (Indrajit Mazumder) are two young individuals trying their luck in the film industry. They get chosen for Ganguly’s crew and the director begins shooting his film.
During a break in shooting, Ganguly is shocked one morning to see the trailer of a film with the exact storyline as his, directed by an amateur, featuring Shreya and Raj in the lead. The film is being produced by Arindam Chakraborty (Sabyasachi Chakraborty), an old rival of his.
Ganguly is devastated and also infuriated. That is when Anindya Chattopadhyay, the lead actor of his film, comes to him with a plan to ruin Shreya, Raj and Arindam’s careers by suffocating them with their fame.
In the second half of the film, we see Ganguly getting his hands dirty in a reality show that depicts every moment of Shreya and Raj’s lives. However, it is for the audience to find out how he accomplishes his mission of seeking revenge.
Each and every episode in the film is presented in great detail, which does seem to have been quite unnecessary. Secondly, the plot goes back and forth in an attempt to explain every deceit committed by the various characters, which just adds to the film's length and appears repetitive.
The darker aspects of the film lack the charm that is mostly present in any thriller. Hence, instead of creating a sense of anticipation, the film begins to weigh heavy upon the mind.
Through most of the film, it appears that Ganguly has gone overboard with his game of revenge, retaining no trace of humanity. It is also unclear why he harbours a wish to take revenge for his daughter’s death on Shreya, Raj and Arindam.
The end just makes the fiasco more confusing. Nothing justifies Ganguly’s evil actions. Moreover, as the trio face their worst nightmare caught up in Ganguly's scheme, the audience is fed content that could be psychologically harmful.
Rini Ghosh is quite natural in her portrayal of Shreya, a young woman with big dreams but lacking the maturity to judge situations well. Ghosh makes the character one of flesh and blood.
But Indrajit Mazumder's act is average. The actor needed to bring a level of maturity in his portrayal of Raj.
Saswata Chatterjee is quite convincing as an almost psychopathic human being. In the beginning of the film, his Ganguly appears to be a passionate filmmaker, attached to his work. He even proclaims that he cannot change the form of his art.
However, later, the consistency of his character is taken away, endowing him with purely psychopathic evil intentions that spare nobody in his game of revenge.
Sabyasachi Chakraborty is a delight to watch with his charm and his shrewdness. He, perhaps, is the only one who brings a bit of relief with his mere presence on screen.
Prosenjit Chowdhury and Ankkit Sengupta’s cinematography is clean and sleek and adds to the dark flavour. The moments of romance between Darshana Banik and Anindya Chattopadhyay are shot well.
The background score by Aviraj Sen sounds a bit repetitive.
Network’s content is problematic, even weird at times. It is hard to conclude whether the film is entertaining. Perhaps if editor Anirban Maity had worked towards a crisper edit, particularly of some sections, it might have been less exhausting.
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