CHENNAI: It’s been 87 years since Charlie Chaplin released Modern Times. The film, a satirical black comedy, told the story of a factory worker and his struggle to survive in the modern, industrialised world in the face of the Great Depression.
Little seems to have changed, rather only the means of exploitation of workers have changed. And when it comes to gig workers, the conditions are far more grim since they’re not full-time employees and are devoid of any benefits and security that a permanent job brings.
Filmmaker-actress Nandita Das’ new film Zwigato tells the human story of a gig worker who works with the titular food delivery platform. Nandita told that the idea of the film came into existence during a discussion about growing unemployment and the complexity of gig work with her publisher friend Samir Patil.
The filmmaker said, “We then began writing a short film about a day in the life of a delivery rider. Then Sameer (Nair), CEO of Applause Entertainment, who was to produce it, nudged me to expand it for a feature film. Initially, I felt the subject would not immerse me enough, but as I began to delve deeper into it, I was drawn to the human aspects of this collision of new technology and the life of the workers, who are just a cog in the wheel. With the rise of the gig economy, the struggle between man and machine that Chaplin depicted in ‘Modern Times’ has now shifted to one between man and algorithms. So ‘Zwigato’ is a story about the relentlessness of life, but not without its silver lining.”
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