Unpaused on Amazon Prime Video Review: Simply Beautiful
Unpaused is the best anthology centered around the pandemic to date that feels like a breath of fresh air
Though the pandemic has plunged the world into an unprecedented crisis, it sure has opened a box of ideas for filmmakers. With a couple of anthologies themed around the pandemic lined up, Unpaused on Amazon Prime Video leaves a mark.
Five filmmakers (Raj & DK, Nikhil Advani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Avinash Arun, and Nitya Mehra) come together with five shorts that resonate on how the pandemic and lockdown took a toll on people of different class constructs.
I’ll just break down the review of each film so that it is much easier for you to understand the different narratives. The films are reviewed in the order of their appearances.
Director duo Raj & DK are the flagbearers of genuine humor in Bollywood these days. Where the majority of films resort to disgrace a community or a person for humor, Raj & DK rise high to crack us into a sincere dose of laughter. With their recent short in Unpaused, they do not fail to do that.
The film is set 12 years ahead of today. Around 6 million people have died due to the virus and vaccines have still not been invented. Gulshan Devaiah plays a hypo who has used all these years to gather several certificates through online courses. His only companion in his lonely paranoid life is Mala, his artificial intelligence voice friend. His virtual date (Sayami Kher) turns out to be his polar opposite. She is a warrior. She works hard every day to find the vaccine only to be a victim of people’s wrath and alienation.
A perfect combination of humor and drama, Glitch is one of the best takes on the dystopian world. The stunning performances by the actors deserve a special mention.
We did hear news of people falling into depression and turning suicidal due to the impact of the pandemic. Devika (Richa Chadda) too is suicidal, but not due to the pandemic. Ramifications in her personal and professional life have rendered her hopeless. Her cute neighbor (Ishwak Singh) distracts her before she decides to end her life.
The film has little to do with the pandemic and due to the same reason, it falls short of relevance in the anthology. The short just passes by without giving us much to root for.
While the above two shorts are set in the plush homes in Mumbai, Rat-a-tat is set in the city bungalows. Archana (Lillete Dubey) is a 65-year-old grumpy woman (the age really does not tally with how young and pretty she actually looked) who lives all by herself. Priyanka (Rinku Rajguru) is a young neighbor of hers who later seeks refuge in Archana’s home due to the invasion of a stubborn rat in her own apartment. The story goes ahead as the two bond over different topics, basically the “experience quota” provided their huge age difference. The film however ends up an average watch and is easily forgettable. The chemistry between the leading ladies is worth commenting though.
The best of all the shorts, Vishanoo is a raw take on the impact of Covid-19 on the migrant workers of our country. A migrant couple accompanied by their son are struggling to find a way to return back home to escape the economic stoop the pandemic has thrust on them. Out of all options, they seek refuge in an empty but luxurious apartment in Mumbai. However, they are unable to savor the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. Because, in the end, they are hardworking people and don’t want to own what is not theirs. Abhishek Banerjee and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan play the migrant couple with perfection. They are helpless yet there is a spark of home in the way they try to hold their life together. The film just hits hard.
The second best of all the shorts, Chand Mubarak, underlines a sweet relationship between an older woman (Ratna Pathak Shah) and an auto driver (Shardul Bhardwaj). The dialogues, the situations, and everything feel so real and imaginable. There could have been possibilities to add a pinch of drama for the Bollywood flavor but thankfully the makers refrained from doing so. And that has made all the difference. Shardul Bhardwaj’s smile, in the end, lights up the screen. He is undoubtedly one of the best takeaways from anthology.
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