Cargo, the new Netflix original released on 09 September, is the scientific take at the afterlife, a rare indian sci-fi movie, with reincarnation as its central theme.
Directed by debutant Arati Kadav, Cargo has Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tripathi as Homo Rakshasas who help the dead through the transition to afterlife.
The Plot –
Cargo with its western style of storytelling, is Indian by core concept. As per the peace treaty signed between humans and demons, demons are taking care of PDTS (Post Death Transition Service), where they are supposed to ready people for reincarnation.
Prahastha (Massey) is a homo rakshas who is managing spaceship Pushpak 634 A, where he heals the dead and then moves them to the next stage for reincarnation.His only interaction is with Nitigya Sir (Nandu Madhav), his counterpart on earth, that too through a CRT screen.
After almost 75 years of performing the same duties of transitioning Cargos, with no or minimal interaction with them, he looks more of a government office clerk who gets to do the same chores every day.
The team on earth sends a new assistant Yuvishka (Shweta Tripathi) to join him at PDTS. Prahastha, being too used to his monotonous life and old ways of working, tries to resist the new ways of working by Yuvishka, but later gets impressed and comfortable with her ways.
As soon as he starts getting comfortable with the new situation, he notices that Cargos are getting repeated, which means he has been doing it for quite a long time and it is the time for him to retire and move back to earth.
Vikrant Massey as Prahastha gives a solid performance as usual. He portrays a lonely man who is so used to his solitude and work, that he seems more like a programmed machine.
Shweta Tripathi provides a great balancing act to his serious one, with her jovial and lively portrayal of university topper Yuvishka.
Nandu Madhav is good as Nitigya Sir. Konkana Sen, Biswapati Sarkar and Hansal Mehta in their small cameos are ok.
The concept of the film is its highlight. Cargo has a novel idea, which though being a sci-fi movie is not too scientific , and very much Indian at heart. The idea itself is something that deserves a viewing.
The film is shot well. With no fancy spaceship, no fancy spacesuits director has tried to keep the film as humane as possible which is commendable. Characters are real and relatable and so is the terminology used.
The way in which the backstory of Cargos is filmed (the scenes just before their deaths) is pretty amusing and that in a way gives a sense of continuity and relatability to the characters.
The film has its shares of loopholes and shortcomings as well. The scenes between Massey and Shweta could have been much more impactful which is not a case here. Most of the interactions seem superficial and not heartfelt.
Even in the interactions of Prahastha or Yuvishka with the dead (Cargos), the conversations were too dull (might be intentional), but a connection there could have helped a lot in the otherwise dull narrative.
The narrative is more like a skit, where characters keep appearing. The narrative tries to be philosophical at times but never tries to deep dive or even continue, which again dilutes the impact.
Even the performances, though very good by both Massey and Tripathi, they get undone by lack of content in the script (which is more of an idea than a fully developed script.)
Cargo is a fresh concept and that is its biggest positive. This is a brave attempt by a debutant director, ably supported by its lead actors. The problem with Cargo is that the idea is not much explored and developed, hence restricting the film to achieve anything substantial.
The film is low on entertainment and around 30 minutes too long, but still for the novelty factor it can be on your watch list.