If you're a movie buff, you'll appreciate how this film demonstrates that you don't need a big payoff or even a very complex plot in order to enjoy yourself.
Manas (Kapil Sharma), who used to be a factory floor manager, loses his job because of the pandemic. Then, under duress, he is sent to work as a food delivery rider, where he must navigate the app and the world of ratings and rewards. While he has a hard life, he and his wife, Pratima (Shahana Goswami), do occasionally experience happy moments. The movie depicts the lives of common, unseen individuals who are concealed from view.
During the pandemic, everyone entered their kitchen and tried experimenting with food. However, after a point in time, those cravings kicked in, and we were urged to order food from outside. But this task has two sides to it: making food delivery executives travel from one place to another during the peak COVID-19 era and, on the other hand, helping them earn a penny or two during the tough times. Nandita Das' Zwigato dabbles in the same story, which is poignant and extremely linear.
The film begins with a dream, and the reality shows Kapil Sharma as Manas starting with his daily chores of getting ready for work. On the other hand, he also keeps telling his wife that he is making her work outside the house. To which she says that he is not making her do it; she is doing it of her own volition. But this conversation keeps popping up. A factory floor manager taking odd jobs to meet the needs is something many faced during the pandemic. But the competition is always tough and only gets tougher as the day goes by.
The straightforward tale of a delivery executive and his family's mundane life is Zwigato, written by Nandita and Samir Patil. We see Manas waiting outside the restaurants for orders and travelling from one place to another in the hot summer. He also keeps his mask on while delivering, and it's not something he does regularly, which was also true during the pandemic era. During his working hours, he meets every kind of customer, who is quite obliged and ready to take selfies, tip well, and more.
Even in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, we see elitism at its core, with delivery executives not being allowed to take elevators, irrespective of how many stories the building is. However, Manas and his family try their best to find a little happiness once he is back home. They watch Naagin together and get sarcastic with one another every now and then.
However, the new job as a delivery executive gets to Manas, and the film starts taking a slight turn. But Nandita keeps the stories she tells simply by not making them too complicated or giving them happy endings. It's the reality that not everyone hits the jackpot at some point in their lives and just has to go with the flow, which hits every rock at every turn.
The film doesn't give any hope, but if you've been watching so many films back-to-back, you will feel a twist coming. But that's the biggest surprise: You're watching something that's somewhere between a short film and a parallel movie, and it comes out on top.
The biggest win for Zwigato is the casting of Kapil Sharma. The film is tailor-made for him, and the comedian got into the groove smoothly. As with Manas, Kapil has the accent of a man from Jharkhand and represents the common man well. The actor brings comedy into tragedy, which doesn't leave him and comes across like improv. Kapil excels at hiding his stress and emotions with his deadpan sense of humour, which Nandita plays well with her characterization. If there was a Hindi movie debut for Kapil, this should have been it, as Zwigato puts the actor on the map as a performer to be taken seriously.
Kapil Sharma is the best thing about Zwigato, and he carries the movie on his shoulders with the same ease that he carries his delivery bag when he goes out to make deliveries. Supporting him stupendously in this story is Shahana Goswami as his on-screen wife, Pratima.
Well, it's not a surprise at all how incredible a performer she is and how underrated she is in movie scenes. The film also gives her wings to fly, but Nandita doesn't go far from reality and shows how a man from a small town will question his wife for having aspirations that are only to meet the basic needs of the house. Shahana picks up the minute nuances and walks hand-in-hand with Kapil, making her more than just a mere supporting character. She is seen as a masseuse and even finally got a job as a cleaner at a mall, but on a late-night shift. These are hints at making one feel helpless and earn money. But Shahana convinces you that doing these jobs is also empowering her and making her an equal partner with her husband.
If it's a Nandita Das film, even in 105 minutes, she will hit us with the harsh realities of life. We see people protesting for jobs that the government promises but never provides. Delivery executives are zeroed down to only rating, and "hum majboor hai, isliye majdoor hai" becomes a reality. Making Kapil a part of the narrative is convincing enough to make people realize that whatever is happening is tough to take and that comfort is not an affordable luxury.
Zwigato, which is an amalgamation of Zomato and Swiggy, two popular delivery apps, has made me think more about the delivery executive while searching for my favourite food to be delivered to my doorstep.
Zwigato is not a comfort watch and might end up testing your patience. But being a cinema lover comes into play here, proving that entertaining films can be made even with the simplest of simple storytelling and don't need a climax, which most of the film gives us. At the end of the day, life continues...