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Cargo director Arati Kadav: We need to draw inspiration from Indian folklore, instead from the West


It was a long wait for Arati Kadav's sci-fi film Cargo to see the light of day. The Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tripathi Sharma-starrer premièred at the MAMI film festival in 2019 and did the festival rounds. "Had it not been for the pandemic, Cargo would have been screened at several more festivals," says Kadav, adding, "Now that it has dropped on Netflix, it will travel to many more homes."

The writer-director admits that for a first-time filmmaker a theatrical release "would add to your resume, but given the prevailing circumstance, this is the best option". Obsessed with the sci-fi genre, Kadav says she couldn't think of any other subject to make her debut. "Science fiction comes naturally to me. For the last eight years, I have been writing and making short films on it," says the filmmaker.

Streaming on Netflix since September 9, Cargo revolves around a demon, who works on a spaceship to aid the transition services post death along with an astronaut. "A spaceship comes close to the Earth every day and the dead are carried like cargo to an after-life. They have to go through immigration, give up their identity, get their memories erased and give up worldly possessions to begin a new life," explains Kadav.

Though sci-fi films are the biggest grossers in Hollywood, Bollywood still shies away from the genre. "I hope more producers back sci-fi projects. Due to the special effects, the budget of the film shoots up, which makes most producers stay away," reasons Kadav, adding that the benchmark for Indian sci-fi subjects still remains around Hollywood inspired films about superheroes. "Instead of seeking inspiration from the West, we need to draw from Indian folklore. There are enough subjects to draw inspiration from and to weave a tale about the other worlds." The filmmaker is already working on two more scripts around the same subject.

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