Zwigato movie review: Terrifying Kapil Sharma, Shahana Goswami bring out the dark side of India’s success story

Zwigato movie review: Nandita Das’ third directorial is such a powerful mirror to today’s India, which has always struggled with staggering differences between the haves and the have-nots.

zwigato movie review, kapil sharmaZwigato film review: The film is careful not to become too miserable even as it does not wish to remove the burdens of its characters.

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Zwigato is the story of Manas Singh Mahto, a gig worker who lives in Bhubaneswar with his family. It is also the story of India that has been invisible in Indian cinema, and even more crucially, from the national discourse controlled and shaped by the all-powerful television media. When India shines, why talk about the darkness of those who do not have jobs, or are yoked to endless “shifts” with no time for a meal or a well-deserved break?

And that’s why Nandita Das’ third directorate is such a powerful mirror to today’s India, which has always struggled with staggering disparities between the haves and the have-nots, and where no paper can hide the sad fact that that gap has only widened during the pandemic. Or that more than “five crore Indians are unemployed today”, a figure thrown out at Manas by an unsympathetic character when he complains about the heartlessness of the gig economy: no one will care if he quits because there are millions lining up for his job. .

Millions of Indians like Manas (Kapil Sharma) and his wife Pratima (Shahana Goswami) live with these anxieties every day. Will Manas be able to make the required number of deliveries to be able to receive the required number of stars? How do you best make an “app” that controls your every waking moment, and where you can be zeroed in on the whims and fancies of those you deliver to? The fact that a gig worker can do the downgrade himself (of said client) is no consolation to Manas, who tells a doe-eyed female Zwigato superior (Sayani Gupta): ‘Aap partner-partner karte hain, par paisa toh aap hi banaate. hain’ (you call us partners, but you are the ones who make the money)’.

Other verb bombs are strewn throughout the film, which sometimes finds itself weighed down by a series of bald statements, but which never feels less than real. A “delivery partner” named Aslam does not dare to go into a temple, because he is scared: “mujhe darr lagta hai”, he tells Manas. The protest meeting of a political activist (Swanand Kirkire) where he speaks about the shameless entitlement of the rich and powerful is drowned out by loudspeakers when the police stand by, and a participant is dragged away. Where has he been taken, and will we ever see him again? Brute force is at play, and we are mute spectators.

Pratima finds herself to be the buffer between the growing frustrations of her husband and children, who are thrust into the aspirational India that is supposed to be able to get them out of the precariousness of their parents’ lives. Will Pratima’s rebellious act of stepping out of the house for a cleaning job at a mall or the occasional massage she offers to well-heeled ladies who live in posh high-end apartments get her kids the smartphone they want? Will Manas, whose roots in the village are still strong, make peace with the alienation of living in the city? Or will the employment opportunities presented by the city, even if it is a mirage-like government scheme that Manas continues to seek, be able to compensate for this?

Being shot in Bhubaneswar, where you can see the old and the new jostling side by side, and also hear locals speaking Oriya, brings freshness and flavor to the film. Both Kapil Sharma and Shahana Goswami are terrific: he as an Everyman who doesn’t want his wife to work, and yet is open to learning the value of pragmatism, and her managing the difficult balancing act between being supportive and proactive.

Das’s film, which she co-wrote with Samir Patil, is careful not to become too miserable even as it doesn’t wish away the burdens of its characters. What it does is ask us to testify, and it does that very well.

Zwigato film cast: Shahana Goswami, Kapil Sharma
Zwigato film director: Nandita Das
Zwigato movie rating: 3 stars

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