When Shweta Tripathi and Vikrant Massey partner up on-screen, one can be assured that sparks will fly. With one of the most promising duos that currently reigns the Hindi OTT scene in India in lead, Arati Kadav has written and directed Cargo. Marking the couple’s romantic reunion after the hugely successful web series Mirzapur, the film is being touted as a groundbreaker on many fronts, ranging from its script to genre theme.

Exploring a never-before-seen blend of sci-fi mythology set in the 21st century, the trailer hits all the right notes. Produced by names like Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, known for backing critically acclaimed cinema, Cargo is gearing up for a Netflix release on September 9.

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Synopsis

Set in the afterlife, the film follows the life of Prahastha (Massey), a rakshasa. Except, he is no ordinary (rather, extraordinary) rakshasa, sans all the horns and frightening faces we know from folklore. He’s a modern being, who is as human as the next person. A walking, talking, 24/7 desk job holding human.

His job profile, however, precedes him, for he “recycles people after death,” in the film’s own words. Floating along somewhere at a station called Pushpak 634A, where human earthlings come after death, Prahastha heals them, erases their memories, and then “transitions” them into their next life. After a whole yug of loneliness, the melancholic Prahastha is sent an assistant in the form of Yuvishka Shekhar (Tripathi). Her introduction provides the film its romantic arc, that is as much made up of love as it is of life, death, and other people’s stories.

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Looking For Love In The Afterlife

As tech-heavy as the plot and genre sounds, Cargo has the look and feel of a light, rom-com, complete with a peppy background score where necessary. And yet, it isn’t ridden with frivolity at all. The undercut matter of the film is perceptibly meaningful, riding on the back of a couple trying to make sense of themselves. Like any young person, these two have resentments too, albeit with deeper insights like that of existentialism and transience of life. Not with stuff like WiFi or Instagram aesthetic.

Although to rule them out as tech-ignorant, old school philosophers would be wrong. Because they’re familiar with the concept of touchpads and live videos. We see Yuvishka conducting her first “live telecast from Pushpak 634A,” and connecting with people to talk about life in the afterlife.

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Interstellar With An Indian Touch?

The film promises to be an Indian Interstellar that neatly drums up equal parts of futuristic fancy and feel-good entertainment, resulting in an altogether new theme of sci-myth. Like Christopher Nolan’s seminal work, Cargo too places its emotional complexities in the male character and level-headedness in the woman. Prahastha is a visibly troubled character, resentful about something – perhaps his own self.

Using a female character’s entry to quell the man’s gloom in life is an old trope – one of the most longstanding ones throughout Bollywood and Hollywood. But does Cargo exploit it as the be-all and end-all solution of this couple’s troubles? At least in the trailer, we do not see Yuvishka come to Prahastha with the answers to his problems. Instead, she brings her own questions. Where does the conversation and life sail for the two henceforth? That is something we will have to wait and watch once the film is out on Netflix.

Image Credit: YouTube screenshot

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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