Matto Ki Saikal film is an emotionally moving tale that looks at the dreams and desires as well as the mental agony of daily wage workers who battle every day to make their ends meet, says actor-filmmaker Prakash Jha.
Billed as a story of hope, the film is set in Mathura and features Jha as Matto, a labourer whose family wants to buy him a cycle for his daily travel.
“It is a story that is close to lakhs of Indians who we don’t see — the workers, who built everything, houses, roads, flyovers, railways, etc and it is because of them that we have this whole big infrastructure and the wheel of progress is moving.
“In our day-to-day life we don’t think about these people, they don’t exist for us, not in a bad way, (but) they remain unseen. What they go through, what their dreams are and what mental agony they go through, we don’t know about it,” Jha told PTI in an interview.
Matto Ki Saikal, which had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in October 2020 and was later screened at the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF), is not trying to create any revolution, said Jha.
“It is just trying to make you peep into these characters that we don’t even see and who do not matter to us,” he added.
Explaining his journey in making this film, Jha said he interacted with a lot of daily labourers on the streets of Mathura to understand their life, plight and desires.
“There is no set way, you have to keep looking on how you can play the character. Read the script, understand the ambience, read the background and create your own story. I kept looking at people who are like Matto,” he said.
Having acted in films such as “Saand Ki Aankh” (2019) and “Jai Gangaajal” (2016), the actor-director said he doesn’t have a particular process of getting into the skin of a character.
“In Mathura, I spent a lot of time with these people who are waiting to get picked up for a day’s job, you observe them and you become them,” he added.
The filmmaker said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the suffering of daily wage workers of the country was brought to the fore for the first time.
“We have suddenly understood their value. Maybe all that sentiment is connected with the story,” he added.
Matto Ki Cycle, which made its debut in theatres on Friday, is directed by M Gani. It is produced by producer Sudhirbhai Mishra.