Milestone (also called Meel Patthar), is director Ivan Ayr’s second feature film on Netflix and has won various awards. The story is close to home and captures the struggles of an aging truck driver.
Ghalib (Suvinder Vicky) is an aging truck driver. Truck driving is a family profession and his forefathers used to drive trucks in Kuwait. Presently, Ghalib is overwhelmed with what is going on in his life and is trying to run away from his emotions by staying on the road for long hours, on double shifts. He is the only one in the warehouse to hit a 5 lakh km milestone.
He has also recently developed a backache which comes in the way of him performing his duty properly. At the same time, the labour union of the warehouse where Ghalib works has gone on strike. This has made life difficult for Ghalib as he has to load the truck by himself too.
Ghalib has also recently lost his wife Etali, with whom he was not on good terms. Her death has left a void in him which he is unable to fill. Etali’s family travels all the way from Sikkim to Ghalib’s ancestral village in Punjab to file a complaint against him with the Village Panchayat as he mistreated her. The Panchayat directs Ghalib to give them compensation.
A new boy, Pash (Lakshvir Saran) is hired at the warehouse. He is a youngster with a will and enthusiasm to learn new things. The owner of the warehouse asks Ghalib to take Pash under him and to teach him. Ghalib is feels threatened by Pash as he poses a threat to his job and keeps reminding him of his aging.
Ghalib is helpless and cannot change the fact that being a truck driver has become his true identity, he is nothing more, nothing less; just a truck driver.
Milestone ending explained in detail:
What does Ghalib say to Pash?
The owner sends Pash with Ghalib’s truck to complete a delivery. Ghalib patiently waits for him to return back, in his car. When he sights him, he calls him over.
Ghalib offers him a huge amount of money and asks him to quit his job. Perplexed, Pash seeks an explanation to which Ghalib explains that he will be sacked from the job if he doesn’t quit. He is aging, his body is giving up on him but on the other hand, Pash is young and enthusiastic, he can be more profitable.
Pash is confused and rejects the offer, Ghalib hands him more money. He tells Ghalib that this job means a lot to him, it is only when his sister gives him money that he is able to pay the rent. He needs the job for survival.
He rejects the offer, returns the money back and leaves the car.
Compensation to Etali’s family
In a previous Panchayat meeting, Ghalib was given a few days to arrange for compensation which Etali’s family will happily accept.
He initially offered them 2 lakh rupees which they had refused to accept earlier as well. The head of the Panchayat asks Ghalib why he is still offering them this when they do not want it.
Then he hands over some papers to them in addition to the money. It is a permit to sell liquor. The Panchayat scolds Ghalib and asks him if he is trying to insult them.
But the family accepts it and the matter is closed.
A full circle
Back home in Delhi, Ghalib is seen packing his things when he receives a phone call. Pash’s sister hasn’t heard from him for the past two days and is worried. She was wondering if Ghalib could help her locate him.
Ghalib goes to the warehouse to enquire about him and finds out that he has met with an accident. The truck has suffered a lot of damages but Pash is fine. He goes ahead to see him.
The next morning, Ghalib wakes up to a pleasant surprise, his backache has gone away. He happily stretches, pushes boxes away, the pain is gone.
He goes back to the warehouse to find out that the labour strike has also come to an end. He then calls Pash’s sister to find out if she was able to reach him.
She thanks him for his help and tells him how Pash mentioned that he is posing a threat to a senior’s job and has himself developed a backache.
With this life comes at a full circle, the life that Ghalib has been living is somewhat becoming Pash’s life too. The wear and tear of sitting behind the wheel for long hours show its effects on the young Pash.
Also Read: Milestone review: Ruminative study of a lonely truck driver