A Day in My Life

ZEE5’s Bangla original Water Bottle is a thrilling neo-noir. But what is neo-noir?

ZEE5 continues to push the envelope when it comes to experimentation in stories and genres within the Indian web space. Their recent Bangla original series Water Bottle is another shining example of the fact. When one looks at the trailer of Water Bottle, there is this incredibly thrilling yet creepy vibe that is evident. But as a cinephile, I also felt that series had shades of neo-noir in it. You may ask why? But more importantly, many would think what is neo-noir in the first place? Hence, for those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, let us explore the elements of neo-noir genre and how ZEE5’s Bangla series Water Bottle fits into the definition.

Watch Water Bottle web series online


Elements of Neo-Noir

  • A Cynical and flawed protagonist

As mentioned in the title, cynicism and flaws are the quintessential traits in a neo-noir protagonist. If you further narrow down the traits, you would often see a pattern. For example, many protagonists in the genre would be hot-headed individuals with their fair share of vices. But at the same time, their perception of the world is clearer than others, making them perfect to look into the ignored details of a case and make exciting revelations. In the show too, the protagonist Mringako (Chiranjeet Chakraborty) possess all the aforementioned traits. An alcoholic with anger management issues, Mringako still manages to spearhead the investigation in the series, all due to its intellect and ability to decipher the criminal mind.  

  • Depiction of Crime

In film noir, the predecessor of neo-noir, the central conflict would involve individuals with cynical attitudes and crimes that resulted out of that. Mostly, these would be crimes of passion or revenge or monetary motivation. Either way, it was more of a sociological lens that the film noir genre had in the day. But as the neo-noir genre kicked in the 1970s, there was a shift from a sociological lens to a psychological lens. The crimes became more grisly and were driven by a psychological factor now. In Water Bottle, the character Jyotileshwar (played by Rajatava Dutta) too is driven to murder young kids, due to a twisted mindset that germinated from an incident in his childhood.

  • Use of light and darkness

Cinematography is possibly the most easily distinguishable aspect of the neo-noir movement. Borrowing its predecessor, neo-noir is known for its use of dark visuals to emphasise characters or scenes for metaphorical reasons. Among other stylistic methods, the interplay of light and darkness is more prominently used in neo-noir narratives. Coming to Water Bottle, there are multiple instances where the cinematography’s neo-noir styling is evident. One instance that I recall is when Jyotileshwar walks through a dingy corridor that is lit in sky blue shades. This use of lighting heightens the creepy atmosphere to another level.

To know more about neo-noir, check out this article!

Those were my views on the neo-noir genre and how ZEE5’s Bangla web series Water Bottle employs these genre tropes. Considering the fact that it is a novel attempt in the Bangla web space, you must check out the web series Water Bottle on ZEE5.


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