Cast: Prakash Jha , Anita Chowdhary, Dimpy Mishra, Aarohi Sharma, Idhika Roy, CP Sharma and Aayan Madar
Director: M Gani
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
The likes of Matto Pal are throughout us. Most of us select to be detached to their presence – and plight. Hindi cinema does likewise. On the massive display screen, we hardly get to see those that toil to assemble our homes, lay our roads, and produce the products we purchase and the meals we eat. In a modest, minimalist method, Matto Ki Saikil trains the highlight on the pitiable actuality of India’s unorganized labour power.
Directed by debutant M Gani and headlined by filmmaker Prakash Jha, Matto Ki Saikil is a deeply felt, strikingly genuine and profoundly transferring story of an impoverished each day wage earner who resides in an unexceptional village off Mathura, the filmmaker’s hometown. Central to the plot is a bicycle that has seen higher days
Notwithstanding the movie’s sobering premise, it doesn’t give in to miserabilist melodrama. Powered by Jha’s presence, it is aware of precisely the place it’s going. The movie’s protagonist, regardless of the numerous setbacks he encounters and the exploitation he faces, troopers on as a result of he’s dedicated to offering for his household come rain or shine.
Matto Ki Saikil follows the beleaguered man as he struggles to outlive at subsistence stage. The muted drama hinges on the each day grind he should endure. Every morning, Matto cycles to a development web site within the metropolis the place he work. He returns to the village earlier than sunset with fellow masons, who, having earned just a few hundred rupees for a day’s labour, sing people songs with full-throated abandon.
Matto has no purpose to sing. Genuine pleasure eludes him. Yet he carries on regardless. Like him, his spouse Devki (Anita Chaudhary) and daughters Neeraj (Aarohi Sharma) and Limka (Idhika Roy) stay in hope that their fortunes will change for the higher someday.
Matto’s bicycle has served him for 20 years. It is now falling aside. As a outcome, Matto’s commute is not easy. He doesn’t have cash to purchase a brand new bicycle. His pleas for loans to the constructing contractor and different acquaintances yield nothing. Life goes on…
When Matto plans his elder daughter’s marriage and negotiates with the potential bridegroom’s father, the dialogue hits a roadblock as a result of a brand new automotive is a part of the dowry calls for.
His decrepit bicycle, which, because the title suggests, is a key character within the movie, displays Matto’s plight. Nothing modifications for him regardless of the a long time of arduous work that he has logged. He continues to languish on the very backside of the social heap.
Chirpy bicycle mechanic Kallu (Dimpy Mishra) tries his greatest to maintain Matto’s spirits up. A momentary, if deceptive, sliver of positivity is offered by village head Sikandar Fauji (Chandraprakash Sharma), a person voted to energy on the again of a promise to rework the constituency.
He gives to put in a faucet close to Matto’s house in order that his daughters should not have to go all the way in which to the ooncha mohalla (excessive caste locality) to fetch water.
The caste dynamic doesn’t come into play in Matto Ki Cycle in too apparent a means. Matto’s social identification is not particularly highlighted, however it’s implied that it is not the category divide alone that works in opposition to him. His monetary standing and social standing are interlinked.
Matto Ki Saikil intelligently slips tangential political references into the narrative in different methods. Development tasks are talked up particularly fueled by village-level politicos out to inveigle the voters.
A discover board on a farm land broadcasts an upcoming government-funded street venture. Is something that’s within the offing by means of progress prone to alter the fortunes of the marginalised? Development is barely chimera for Matto and his ilk.
Without giving freely any plot particulars, one can reveal that the movie ends on Independence Day. It doesn’t verbalise the query however within the mild of what has gone earlier than it seems to be askance on the notion of freedom, bringing again to thoughts the opening sequence: Matto is bent over his bicycle. It has damaged down. As he struggles to place the cycle chain again within the groove, a white SUV zips by and leaves behind a cloud of mud.
In a later scene, Matto and his pals are at a police station to report a theft. The inspector treats them with utter contempt. When one of many males repeats the grievance that they need to lodge, the unperturbed man in uniform shoots again: “Behra nahin hoon sunaai deta hai (I’m not deaf, I can hear).” It is difficult to overlook the irony inherent within the disdainful policeman’s utterance, which clearly echoes the angle of the system as an entire.
The complete system is geared in the direction of suppressing those that are already unvoiced and lack the wherewithal to hunt redressal of their grievances. That, in essence, is what Matto Ki Saikil drives house with out resorting to shrill strategies. The movie doesn’t rave and rant. It presents its case with mild, quiet insistence and efficacy.
An out-of-work lawyer sits studying a newspaper on the bicycle restore store. Reading a narrative, he broadcasts to Matto and Kallu that an individual incomes Rs 35 a day will now not be considered being under the poverty line. On one other event, he reads aloud a headline a couple of main industrialist deciding to enter the area of training.
The village has just one faculty the place lecturers are given to enjoying truant. It has no medical amenities barring a quack who peddles homegrown treatments. The place has no bogs both, which exposes the villagers to raids by an anti-open defecation squad that swings by on occasion.
The village in Matto Ki Saikil is an actual, tangible place, not the form of constructed house that Hindi movies about rural India are often set in. The individuals who stay right here – Gani casts actors who mix in simply with the setting and this doesn’t exclude Prakash Jha – and the dialect that they communicate are rooted and genuine. The village is inexperienced due to the agriculture land round it, however there are squalor and sludge in its midst.
Prakash Jha, in his third big-screen outing as an actor – he was earlier seen in 2019’s Saand Ki Aankh and his personal Jai Gangaajal (2016) – disappears, physique and soul, nearly imperceptibly into the character of Matto and delivers a convincing portrayal.
Matto Ki Saikil pedals a good distance in laying naked the wages of the pauperization of the powerless in a world loaded closely in opposition to those that are summarily sacrificed on the altar of unsustainable, lopsided improvement.