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Unpaused Movie Review: A magnificent anthology of lockdown films.

Aakash Mishra

Unpaused is an anthology of five short films that are centered around the pandemic with themes of hope, love, friendship, survival, and loneliness. Four of them give a warm feeling and explore how the pandemic has formed some beautiful bonds which go beyond the sociocultural differences but Avinash Arun’s Vishaanu stands out…

Coronavirus may have disrupted the release of many films but it has also given rise to new plots for many films as well as made the use of digital space of technology a new normal. Amazon Prime’s new release, Unpaused is an anthology of five short films that are centered around the pandemic with themes of hope, love, friendship, survival, and loneliness. Four of them give a warm feeling and explore how the pandemic has formed some beautiful bonds which go beyond the sociocultural differences but Avinash Arun’s Vishaanu stands out and in a way it doesn’t belong to be among these sweet short films, it is clearly the best among the lot and deserves to be an individual full feature-length film.

Avinash Arun’s Vishaanu is a Parasite-styled satire in which a poor couple is stuck in a “ Paradise.” This film is all about highlighting those small little things we have as a privilege but not everyone does. In this temporary paradise, the couple still remains grounded by eating and sleeping on the floor. They are stuck in luxury but they never take advantage of that luxury. The film never exemplifies their condition and when for once when they try to utilize the luxury, reality hits them again. This is clearly the best lockdown-related film of the year. Abhishek Banerjee and Geetika Vidya gave outstanding performances.

Glitch by Raj & DK is set way ahead in the future where “COVID-19” is now “COVID-30”. VR (Virtual Reality) is the only way to build connections now. This is the most innovative story among the lot. A love story between two misfits in a virtual world. One of them is termed as a “hypo” and Is way too cautious about the protection from the virus and believes that he can achieve everything by staying at home. The other one is termed as “Warrior” just like Corona Warriors. She works at a lab that is trying to develop a vaccine for the virus. But as she says “Warriors are the new untouchables”, so it’s interesting to see how they both start their love story. Gulshan Devaiah and Saiyami Kher both carried out their role in a tremendously good manner.

Nikkhil Advani’s Apartment starring Richa Chadha as a depressed woman is on the verge of committing suicide. She is in the middle of a #MeToo movement launched on her husband and the world outside is banging plates to fight a pandemic. Every day, every moment she is depressed and she thinks the only solution left is to commit suicide. But, she is interrupted again and again. Ishwak Singh as Chirag is clingy and blabbers constantly. His performance as well feels a bit over the top but maybe it’s just the character’s demands. Richa Chadha was amazing and carried out her role brilliantly.

Chand Mubarak by Nitya Mehra is the sweetest among the lot, with very few elements. It is predictable and easy-going but it’s so heartwarming at the same time. It’s all about the conversations, the interaction of two different cultures and classes. Ratna Pathak Shah plays the role of a paranoid woman quite brilliantly and so does Shardul Bharadwaj as a Muslim rickshaw driver stuck in the lockdown.

Rat-A-Tat by Tannishtha Chatterjee is probably the weakest among the lot, it’s sweet but it’s dry as well. A fretful senior citizen (Lilette Dubey) forms a unique bond with her young neighbor in the lockdown because of a small household problem. The moments and conversations feel unauthentic. Their chemistry is interesting but it feels as if it’s rushed and doesn’t happen in a very natural way. Though the performances by both Lilette Dubey and Rinku Rajguru were good but they aren’t given enough material to express themselves more.

Overall, each and every film while highlighting a personal tragedy also have a socio-political tangent with which they make the whole Unpaused anthology, a must-watch. Some are weak if compared to others yet they all are beautiful in their own way.

Cast: Richa Chadha, Ratna Pathak Shah, Saiyami Kher, Gulshan Devaiah, Sumeet Vyas, Abhishek Banerjee, Lillete Dubey, Rinku Rajguru, Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Ishwak Singh.

Director: Nikkhil Advani, Avinash Arun, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Krishna D.K, Nitya Mehra, Raj Nidimoru.

Streaming: Amazon Prime Video.

Verdict: A Must-Watch.

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