Duration: 1 Hr 59 Mins
Director: Arati Kadav
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 09th September 2020 (India)
Star cast: Nandu Madhav, Vikrant Massey, Shweta Tripathi, Hansal Mehta, Biswapati Sarkar, Konkona Sen Sharma
Plot: Cargo is a science fiction film, an upgrade on the ancient Indian myths about the afterlife. It is set on a spaceship named Pushpak 634A, many years in the future. According to the Hindu mythology, the Pushpak Viman was a flying palace.
Cargo takes place in a time, where rakshasas (demons) and humans have finally acquired peace through sharing their duties. In this world, Prahastha (Vikrant Massey) is stationed in space and provides Post Death Transition Services. He receives cargo (dead people), guides the recently departed humans, heals their bodies, wipes their memories, recycles their souls and sends them back into a new life.
Prahastha's only companion is Nitigya (Nandu Madhav), the demon manager on earth, handling his cargo. Since, Prahastha has been by himself for long, he is naturally stuck in his ways. And doesn't want to try anything new.
But all of that changes, when his colleague Nitigya, forces him to accept his new assistant Yuvishka (Shweta Tripathi) - who is endowed with magical healing powers. What happens when Prahastha realizes the reason for this appointment, and the decision he takes, forms the rest of the story.
Review: The story of Cargo by writer-director Arati Kadav, is her feature-length directorial debut. She explores this very offbeat subject - reincarnation or, more precisely, the corporatization of reincarnation, in the first-ever Indian homegrown spaceship sci-fi film. Therefore, the concept might seem refreshingly original, in an industry, that has mostly stayed away from this genre.
The magic lies in the way Arati Kadav and her team have created this world, using the components available within their budget. For instance, the equipment used, that acts as the medium of communication on the spacecraft, looks like the 1980s-styled television.
When it comes to performances, Vikrant Massey performs with control, which is impressive. But the fact that Prahastha is a demon, it really adds nothing to him. As here, the character ‘Prahastha’ basically looks like Vikrant Massey!
While, Shweta Tripathi performs wonderfully, when it comes to portraying the conflict and challenges of her own character. She buzzes in with optimism, and brings out the other side of Prahastha's nature.
Whereas, Nandu Madhav, throughout the movie, stays confined within a television screen. His questions, subtle remarks, and sense of ordinariness, make this sci-fi truly worth it.
Additionally, from Hansal Mehta to Biswapati Sarkar and Konkona Sen Sharma, the film is loaded with special appearances.
The only flaw, perhaps, is the comic sequences of the cause of people's death, which brings them to Pushpak. However, those stories and journeys add to the philosophical depth of the film, and make it more relatable.
As far as the technical aspects of this film are concerned, the cinematography by Kaushal Shah is simple. Even the soundscape by Anish John, deserves special mention, as for it has added dimension to the film. But it is the writing, by Arati Kadav that truly takes away the cake.
Overall, this rare Indian Sci-Fi movie, takes Hindu mythology into space. And has shown the genre’s potential. But, have you ever imagined an afterlife in space? Probably, director Arati Kadav's debut with Cargo can be the start of a new generation.