Zwigato Review: Kapil Sharma Delivers The Emotion, But The Film Offers No New Takeaway

It's a Kapil Sharma show through and through

Zwigato, directed by Nandita Das and starring Kapil Sharma and Shahana Goswami, plonks us right in the middle of a simple, hardworking family man, who has lost his job in the pandemic and now works as a delivery boy for an app called Zwigato. His struggles of sustaining a family while dealing with everything from unruly customers to unsympathetic employers and unrelenting technology are quite evident from the film’s trailer itself. So then, does Zwigato have more to offer when you watch the entire film? It’s a question I pondered long after I walked out of the theatre.


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A post shared by Kapil Sharma (@kapilsharma)

Manas is a middle-aged man with two children who’re better adept at technology than him. And yet, it is he who is stuck working for an app, a faceless employer that he cannot understand the workings of and who he cannot even complain to. Every morning, he promises his wife and kids that he will achieve his set target of deliveries, and it becomes a sort of beacon of hope that he clings to, as if achieving it will fix all his problems. And every day, a new hurdle obstructs him from touching this self-appointed finish line. In his dreams, he imagines a different life. In reality, his earnings barely cover his bike’s petrol cost, his wife might have to take up a new job that he isn’t too happy about, and an impending arrival might be bringing some more expenses he can’t avoid.

Zwigato delivers on a checklist of what we already know are real, harsh realities of the lives of the men (and women sometimes) that deliver our food, groceries, and parcels to us. Manas encounters everything from tech issues in his Zwigato app to a customer that wrongly blames him for a mistake they’ve made. If you’ve ever ordered food from these apps, and heard the delivery guy say “Please five star rating de dena,” Zwigato hits you with the realisation of just how crucial that one rating from you is for that person who was just at your door. It made me feel guilty for sometimes choosing to rate the service later, and then forget it.

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Das also manages to widen the lens and bring in broader issues, such as the unemployment in the country and how these apps actually did bring employment for many, and at what cost. In one scene, the protagonist is approached by a fellow delivery partner, a Muslim man, and asked to help deliver his order inside the temple to an NRI family who couldn’t fathom why their delivery guy couldn’t just enter the temple and find them. Perhaps, one of my favourite scenes is when Manas’ own son places and order on Zwigato, thinking he’s helping his father out, but realises it doesn’t work that way. His father actually ends up losing his hard-earned money. A reminder for us users that even the most tech-savvy of us can be tricked into thinking we’re helping out, when none of our help might actually be ‘helping’.

Zwigato is a Kapil Sharma show through and through, with a strong supporting act by the always impressive Shahana Goswami. Kapil infuses his Manas with simplicity and a sort of tiredness borne by a man who is running but sees no destination to his journey. He makes you feel for everything he and others like him are going through. There’s also subtle humour, and Kapil delivers it in his own style, where you won’t know it has hit you.


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A post shared by Kapil Sharma (@kapilsharma)

But as we go about seeing and feeling all of this, what I missed in Zwigato was a central conflict around which all of this could crescendo and climax. Unfortunately, there was none. Obviously, I didn’t expect a magical solution to all the protagonist’s problems, or some dramatic hero’s journey. But the plot felt thin because it just strung a checklist of issues together without weaving them into a proper story. There were threads there that could’ve been pulled at. The pursuit of the five-star rating, or the arrival of guests at home would tighten the situation for Manas and his family. And yet the film simply flows, without anchoring all of these emotions to a worthy point.

I was moved, of course, I was. But I was left wondering if there was any fresh perspective, either heartwarming or heartbreaking, that Zwigato had to offer.

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Reviewing a film that is based on the difficult lives of food delivery personnel and the hardships they face already feels like an ironic act of elitism. And yet…

I remember watching a film at SXSW called I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking), where a homeless black single mother, on skates, struggles to accomplish food deliveries in an LA neighbourhood so that she can make the $200 downpayment for an apartment for her and her daughter. It dealt with a bunch of these issues, and yet it wasn’t just about these issues, but so much more.

Zwigato is moving, and Kapil Sharma makes you wonder, is there anything he cannot do? You can watch the film for both. However, I do wish it had more to offer instead of just reiterating what we already know.

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Jinal Bhatt

A Barbie girl with Oppenheimer humour. Sharp-tongue feminist and pop culture nerd with opinions on movies, shows, books, patriarchy, your boyfriend, everything.

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