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Unpaused Review: An Anthology of Relatable Stories About A Life-Changing Event

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Unpaused, an anthology film telling five stories based on the COVID-19 lockdown, is now streaming on Amazon Prime. And to be very honest, I was initially quite sceptical about watching another film on the pandemic – after all, who would willingly want to go through another anxiety-inducing watch like Netflix’s Contagion? But rest assured for Unpaused is going to be anything but that. In fact, watching the film left me more hopeful than any pandemic-oriented content has this year.

Directed by Raj Nidimoru, Krishna D.K., Nikkhil Advani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Avinash Arun, and Nitya Mehra, and written by Reshu Nath, Nidimoru, Krishna, Advani, Sayunkta Chawla, Devika Bhagat, Shubham, Mehra, Vidur Nauriyal, and Tarun Dudeja. The anthology film stars a range of actors, including Gulshan Devaiah, Saiyami Kher, Richa Chadha, Sumeet Vyas, Ishwak Singh, Lillete Dubey, Rinku Rajguru, Abhishek Banerjee, Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Ratna Pathak Shah, Shardul Bhardwaj.

Also Read: A Call To Spy Review: Radhika Apte Brings Indian-Origin Spy Noor Inayat Khan To Life

What It Is All About

The film deals with five different stories, all following their own plotlines. Glitch is set in a futuristic landscape and mixes science fiction with everyday realism. It shows Ahan (Gulshan Devaiah), a hypochondriac who is terrified of catching the virus going on a virtual date with Ayesha (Saiyami Kher) a medical professional who works in the frontline. The Apartment deals with the couple Devika (Richa Chadha) and Sahil (Sumeet Vyas) as they grapple with the MeToo allegations charged against the latter.

Rat-a-Tat stars Rinku Rajguru as Priyanka who has been driven out of her apartment by a rat. The story then follows the friendship and conversations between her and the landlady Archana (Lillete Dubey), a senior citizen living a lonely life. Vishanoo tells the story Abhishek Banerjee and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, one which aptly captures the economic despair caused by the pandemic. And finally we have Chand Mubarak, where another senior citizen Uma (Ratna Pathak Shah) forms an unlikely bond with an autorickshaw driver and a Muslim migrant worker from Bijnour.

Also Read: Pandemic Diary: 5 Women Tell Us How Friendships Changed In 2020

An Overall Relatable Tale

There are sequences in the film where one can hear the chants of ‘Go Corona Go’ and mass banging of utensils. For anybody who has lived in this country during the lockdown period, these are the two most recognizable sounds that define the pandemic. Such points of references are innumerably scattered throughout the film.

The screenwriting evokes a lot of bittersweet events that we all have, either individually or collectively, experienced during the last nine months. There’s something for each one of us in the film. For example, in The Apartment, the feeling of loneliness that engulfs Devika as she is locked inside her home and being gaslighted by her husband, is a story that touches the reality of many women in this country. At the same time, the idea of virtual dating is something that the youth can easily relate to. In Vishanoo, the shots of the spacious house where the migrants are seen squatting in and where an organisation is delivering food and masks are again scenes that have wrenched our hearts again and again since March. The joys of finding company in people we wouldn’t even think of having a chat with under different circumstances is well portrayed in Rat-a-Tat and Chand Mubarak.

It’s a difficult task to compile anthology films, for not many can achieve the feat of seamlessly joining such contrasting tales together. But Unpaused pulls it off pretty well. The tales aren’t narratively connected. But they are technically happening at the same time, that is, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The emotional quotient blooms in the same way as it does in a linear narrative film, and each story is put together in a manner that compliments the other. More importantly, they all have a through-line about hope and survival that stitches them together. And at the end of the day, they’re all relatable stories about a life-changing event.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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Unpaused Review: An Anthology of Relatable Stories About A Life-Changing Event
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