Directors: Raj & DK, Nikkhil Advani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Avinash Arun Dhaware, Nitya Mehra
Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Saiyami Kher, Richa Chadha, Sumeet Vyas, Ishwak Singh, Lillete Dubey, Rinku Rajguru, Abishek Banerjee, Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Ratna Pathak Shah, Shardul Bharadwaj
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video dropped its anthology of five Hindi films Unpaused. All stories are set in the world affected by Covid-19. The days are gloomy but there’s a ray of hope. We, the People.
In Raj & DK’s Glitch, we’re more than a decade in the future. The COVID vaccines are still undergoing trials. A hypochondriac Ahaan (Gulshan Devaiah) who’s scared to death of catching the virus infection meets Ayesha (Saiyami Kher) a medical professional, a warrior, on a virtual date. The world has become more virtual than ever but people still long for human affection and physical presence. A smart screenplay by Reshu Nath and a stunning cinematography by Pankaj Kumar keep things engaging as Ahaan comes to terms with his anxiety and Ayesha with her personal loss.
In Nikkhil Advani’s Apartment, Devika (Richa Chadha), is trapped in self-blame for her husband Sahil’s (Sumeet Vyas) sexual misconduct at work. Devika is on the verge of making a suicide attempt, and the doorbell rings. Ishwak Singh plays an affable new neighbour and steals the show. You might be able to guess who his character could be considering there would be only a few possibilities in a short film. My guess turned out to be correct. But crisp writing (Samyukta Chawla Shaikh) and effective execution didn’t take away the thrill of revelation.
The third film Rat-a-tat is written by Devika Bhagat and Ishita Moitra and directed by Tannishtha Chatterjee. It shows a senior citizen Archana (Lillete Dubey) and a young tenant Priyanka (Rinku Rajguru) sharing an unlikely friendship. Priyanka is forced to move out of her room because of a rat. She finds shelter in Archana’s house. This is the weakest and least engaging film in the anthology.
After this speed breaker, Unpaused picks up pace, although a tad uneven with Avinash Arun Dhaware’s Vishanoo written by Shubham. A migrant worker couple played by Abhishek Banerjee and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan sneaks into a sample flat of the building where they used to work. Their food supply is running out and the hope of returning to their village is quite expensive and risky. In this turmoil, they find temporary comfort and dreamy, fairy-tale like moments before stark reality hits again.
Watch the trailer of Unpaused:
Unpaused culminates with Nitya Mehra’s Chaand Mubarak. The film written by Mehra, Vidur Nauriyal and Tarun Dudeja is tad predictable but engaging enough with a happy ending. An affluent middle-aged lady Uma (Ratna Pathak Shah) is forced to take a rickshaw during the lockdown and acquaints the driver Riyaz (Shardul Bharadwaj). They are completely in contrast to each other – religion and class-wise. Both dealing with loneliness in the big city.
All five films focus on giving hope in these gloomy days. All of us could use some. Whatever happens, the need for having someone by your side will always be there. After all, we are each other’s only hope.