What is the story about?
In the year 2030, Mumbai is living through a pandemic, where a deadly virus has become so contagious that hospitals are overflowing with patients, and the government has instructed that people afflicted with the virus must stay at home. Manik and Shivika are a married couple who must grapple with the consequences of isolation when Shivika gets infected and is confined to a room in their flat.
Considering the times right now, Infected 2030 could feel like a cruel joke or a cheap stunt designed to cash in on the general bleaknes sin India surrounding COVID-19. Yet, this film is not that interested in the pandemic per se, but how it impacts lives. Writer and director Chandan P. Singh, who also plays the role of the husband Manik, decides to set his tale a few years in the future, where the city of Mumbai is seized by a pandemic of a different kind, but with the same overtones of contagion as COVID-19. Only this time, the government has officially given up, and, due to a shortage of hospital beds, is asking all fresh victims to isolate and medicate in their own homes. Singh's film examines the impact of this order on the marital ties of a young couple.
One of the things that popular culture glorifies is the "long-distance relationship", where characters separated by geographic distances try to maintain their love for each other. At the same time, the role and importance of physical affection is often taken for granted in a marriage where the couple is living in the same household. Infected 2030 takes these notions and flips them on their head, creating a scenario in which Manik and Shivika are forced by a locked door, to live out the yearnings and insecurities of a long-distance relationship in spite of living in the same household. Shivika constantly yearns to feel the physical warmth of Manik, while Manik tries to overcome his urge to see Shivika, fuelled by the fear that it could prove dangerous. Filled with tender moments, this little film is heartbreaking to watch for the way the two characters try to cope up with their loneliness. The climax feels expected, and yet, in a way, poetic. Overall, this film will stay with you for a long time.
Singh is believable as Manik, and he effectively underplays the role of a husband who is rendered helpless by circumstances and misses his wife very much. Noyrika Bhateja is heartbreaking real as Shivika, and your heart goes out to her character as you watch her switch from gloom to despair to hope and back again.
Music & Other Departments
Anu Shersha's camerawork is effective, with a number of tight close-ups of both Shivika and Manik, as they struggle to deal with their realities. Ashish Mohanty's background score is suitably sparse.
The portrayal of Manik and Shivika's marriage is very relatable, and their conversations will make you weep. The scene where Manik takes off his shirt and gives it to Shivika is tough to watch.
One wishes the makers could have been more ambitious with the production design. The story is set in 2030, and yet it feels like a rehash of 2020. Apart from the pandemic being common to both timelines, there's nothing that could make you curious about 2030.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes. The overall film will move you.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. It's beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.