I didn’t get Cargo. No, I really didn’t. I am all for independent cinema which brings in diverse subjects with unconventional narrative. I also equally love hardcore masala movies. And my love for the moving objects on screen also means that I crave for middle of the road cinema as well. However, Cargo turned out to be one of the most bizarre experiences for me. 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes down the line, and I couldn’t really get it.
Yes, I didn’t get Cargo.
First time director Arati Kadav did try to cook up a new dish here for sure. A futuristic tale, this is about image rebuilding that Rakshasas go through as they help humans go through a smooth transition into an afterlife post death. Yes, you read it right. This involves space travel, with rakshasas no more looking like ‘yamdoots’ but instead being sweet and cute like Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tripathi. Along with their ‘handler’ Nandu Madhav, they go about their tasks in a clinical fashion, just like an array of nurses and doctors do from from one medical room to another when you go through your annual medical check up in a hospital.
‘Please stand here, keep your belongings there, raise your hand, show your palm, let’s cleanse you, now you are ready for an after life, and stuff alike’ – This is how the procedure goes in Cargo. Except that this scene comes five times over. Or is it six or more? I don’t know, I lost interest after just three.
This is not the trouble actually with Cargo. The bigger trouble is that it practically doesn’t have a story, or a plot, or a real conflict, or any sort of drama. It plays across like a bunch of students coming together for their summer project with cardboard sets around them and shooting with their personal equipments. The idea may have been for the film to come across as an experiment but it actually gives an impression of being an amateur affair.
The absence of any background score for most part of the narrative further makes Cargo really flat. There are no highs or lows, excitement or amazement, wins or losses – just about nothing. All that you witness is an array of repetitive scenes that take the film past the two hour mark. Strange, because even hardcore commercial films are today not stretching beyond 2 hours and a film belonging to this genre could well have been a 90 minute affair to hold your attention best.
This one doesn’t, and the only takeaway that I had from Cargo was the conviction of the makers, considering it was made with a straight face and in all earnest. That needed courage.