Cast: Vikrant Massey, Shweta Tripathi, Nandu Madhav, Biswapati Sarkar (leads), Hansal Mehta, Konkona Sen Sharma (Cameo)
Director: Arati Kadav
Duration: One hour 53 minutes
Where to Watch: Netflix
Vikrant Massey is in charge of healing humans and sending them back to earth after their transformation, through a service called Indian Post Death Transition (IPDT). After years of working alone, he finds help in Shweta Tripathi. ‘Cargo‘ is the name addressed to every dead person who takes rebirth under the aircraft.
Arati Kadav makes a bold attempt in Indian cinema, by bringing in a sci-fi film which is unlike any other movie made previously. Dare I say, it could even come close to what Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is in Hollywood, except ‘Cargo’ isn’t as intense, even with death being a constant factor in the film.
Like Arati, actors Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tripathi also give their whole to the roles of Prahastha and Yuvishka respectively. Prahastha is a legend on Earth and it is something which the viewers can connect to because of his change in the character through the film. He has not stepped out of the aircraft there since 25 years (a man in the movie even asks if they are living in a parallel universe) and comes from a time when social media was almost non-existent). The characters of Prahastha and Yuvishka are opposites – if she is outgoing, he is an introvert, if she expresses herself well, he hides it perfectly. Deep down though, they are the same and the chemistry they share is mature and adorable at the same time.
Prahastha is also considered to be a ‘Rakshas’ (demon) but is nothing unlike it – at most he has a strict, no-nonsense attitude towards his work which he is wholly dedicated to (again, something that normal people on Earth do too). The film rejects the concept of heaven and hell, by building a parallel universe to Earth, where people simply follow instructions and are ready for rebirth in a jiffy. It thus breaks many norms and beliefs that have been followed throughout cultures all across, which is a rather bold yet interesting step.
Nandu Madhav and Biswapati Sarkar (TVF famed comedian) are in their element too. Hansal Mehta surprises with his cameo at the beginning of the film, while Konkona Sensharma steals all spotlight towards the end of the film, simply with her change of expressions. Hence, acting-wise, no person disappoints.
The low point of the film is its story. The film gets slow and monotonous in certain places, but never boring. It has interesting twists, for example, every person working at IPDT has a superpower – right from Naagin, to the claim to having the power of healing and going invisible. ‘Cargo‘ does not fail you because of its feel-good elements, but it isn’t perfect either.
If we’re being completely honest, there are films that can leave you mind-blown, but ‘Cargo‘ is not there yet. The film also falls into the sci-fi category, for which ‘Star Wars’ has set a high benchmark. ‘Cargo‘, however, deserves the love because of its honest attempt at the genre, and not a failed one like a few movies that Bollywood has previously experimented with.
The film also has another good element – it does not play songs, disrupting the flow of the scenes. I personally was engrossed in the story, and a song (romantic track or the likes) could have probably ruined the moment(s) for me. By not keeping songs, the makers force viewers to feel the emotions and understand the characters, especially Vikrant’s, better, which, when you watch the film, will make more sense than a song.
Watch ‘Cargo‘ at least once, especially if you already have subscribed to the OTT platform. It is a film that deserves love for its successful attempt at the sci-fi genre.