The trailer of Hindi movie Matto Ki Saikil (Matto’s Bicycle) was released recently by Prakash Jha Productions. The movie is set to hit the cinema screens from 16th September 2022.
The plot reminds us of the 1948 classic ‘Bicycle Thief’ in which the central character strives to search for his stolen bicycle which he desperately needs to stay employed and support his family.
Matto Ki Saikil is shot in the rural heartlands of Uttar Pradesh. The film is based on the life of a daily wage laborer played by the producer, director and actor Prakash Jha. The film highlights how much a bicycle is dear to Matto.
The protagonist uses a 20-year-old worn out roadster bicycle to commute to the city area where he works as a construction worker. His bicycle frequently faces technical snags, and he often ends up reporting late to work and suffers criticism at the hands of the astute contractors.
In an unfortunate event, one day his parked bicycle gets crushed by a heavy vehicle which shatters Matto emotionally and mentally, and that leaves him with irreparable damage to his bicycle. The hardships begin from thereon.
Matto struggles to get to work and fill the void of his lost bicycle with a new one as he lacks the means for it. The burden of taking care of his family – two young daughters and a wife takes a toll in the absence of a personal transport which enabled him to remain employed.
The film highlights the issue of transport poverty and the role of bicycles in the life and livelihood of a poor family. During the COVID -19 lockdown, there was a mass migration of daily wage workers in India. People walked their way from cities to their hometowns and villages and many of them opted to pedal for hundreds of kms to reach their destinations as there was no other option left. Several of those migrant stories made the headlines in the mainstream media and highlighted the economic gap between the haves and have nots.
The plight of migrant laborer’s is one of the hard-hitting realities in India. Especially, when a earning member’s job is dependent on a bicycle, and this narrative is the centerpiece of this film. The difficulties amongst the workers who run the gig economy is seldom overlooked and comes out as a sensitive message in the trailer.
The state of migrant workers and their lack of social security sharply reflects in the trailer of Matto Ki Saikil. The trailer sums up the story with a punchline ‘on the road to destiny on a bicycle of hope.’
The movie is directed by M.Gani, and produced by Sudhirbhai Mishra. The film premiered at the Busan international film festival in 2020.
The trailer of Matto Ki Saikil has struck a chord with the audiences and has garnered more than 2.2 million views on YouTube (as on 22nd Sep’22).
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai