Manas Mahto (Kapil Sharma) loses his manager’s job during the lockdown and has to become a food delivery agent to make ends meet. His wife Pratima (Shahana Goswami) tries to seek employment as a cleaner in a mall, despite his disapproval. She also moonlights as a masseur and earns some money on the side. Through his day to day dealings, we learn that delivery agents hardly get to earn any money. A negative review eats into their commission and constant negative ratings can get them expelled from the company. They have to bear the callous nature not only of the hoteliers but of the customers as well. Sometimes they also fall prey to false complaints. The system is rigged against them and they really can’t do anything. They have become slaves to a system which exploits them from every direction. They have to face discrimination on a daily basis. For instance, it is shown that some housing societies don’t allow them to use the elevator, there is no job security, and the management too doesn’t care for them. It’s a situation which perhaps we are all aware of but we knowingly turn a blind eye to.
The fact that we’re all somewhere collectively responsible for their plight is perhaps the reason why Zwigato doesn’t make for an easy watch. The director has captured the helplessness of the marginalised section of the society perfectly. The lesson here is that if we can’t help them in any way, we should not add to their troubles. The least we can do is to be kind to them and acknowledge them as people and not robots. The larger fear is that by not acknowledging their existence, we are somewhere endangering our own humanity.
But their lives aren’t just made of sadness and shadows. There is joy and light there as well. Manas banters with his children cheerfully even on the harshest of days. He loves to interact with his wife at the end of the day. Their smiles hold a depth of meaning for each other. At the end of the film they are shown riding a motorbike together parallel to a track, racing against a train, laughing their hearts out. It’s their escape from reality. A small victory but a victory nevertheless…
Kapil Sharma is known for his stand-up routines but has broken the mould here and has excelled as the everyman who is at the losing end of a fight but hasn’t given in. He has lost himself in the character and looks ripe for dramatic roles in future. Shahana Goswami is as dependable as ever and never puts a foot wrong. She’s done everything the role demands of her and more. We should be seeing more of her in films.
Watch the film for the reality of the invisible people which it has captured, as also for the fine performances essayed by both Kapil Sharma and Shahana Goswami.