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Unpaused Web Review: Poignant, positive tales of hope, empathy and resilience

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Unpaused Web Review: Poignant, positive tales of hope, empathy and resilience

Vijayalakshmi Narayanan

Director : Raj & DK, Nikkhil Advani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Avinash Arun Dhaware, Nitya Mehra

Genre : Anthology

Our rating :

The paranoia that followed the outbreak of a global pandemic steered many of us to rediscover the purpose of our existence and add meaning and purpose to the mundanity around us. Amazon Prime Video's latest anthology, 'Unpaused' weaves five moving and heartfelt tales around the relationships fostered during desperate times that display suffering, loneliness and isolation. Helmed by Raj amp DK, Nikkhil Advani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Avinash Arun Dhaware and Nitya Mehra, these five stories are empowered by the stupendous acts of some of the finest actors, the Hindi film industry boasts of.

In Raj and DK's short 'Glitch', we see a budding romance between Ahan, (Gulshan Devaiah) a hypochondriac and Ayesha, (Saiyami Kher), a frontline warrior.
Nikkhil Advani's 'The Apartment' focusses upon the moral dilemma Devika (Richa Chadda) is grappling with, having learnt an ugly truth about her husband Sahil (Sumeet Vyas). Isolation is driving Devika to the edge and she finds a glimmer of hope from the most unexpected source, a pesky neighbour Chirag (Ishwak Singh).
Tannishtha Chatterjee's 'Rat-A-Tat' mirrors the empathy and sisterhood between a cranky widow (Lillete Dubey) and her enthusiastic young neighbour (Rinku Rajguru).

Avinash Arun Dhaware's 'Vishaanu' offers a sympathetic yet aspirational gaze towards the plight of daily wagers Manish (Abhishek Banerjee) and Seema (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan) who have been driven out by their tenants as they were unable to pay the rent and are now seeking refuge under an unexpected roof.
Nitya Mehra's 'Chand Mubarak' is a touching tale of compassion between Uma (Ratna Pathak Shah) and Rafiq, (Shardul Bhardhwaj) a rickshaw driver.
Through each of the five stories, the common thread remains the state of desolation and uncertainty that looms large over our lives, irrespective of how our struggles may differ from one another. The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar, Kaushal Shah, John Jacob Payyapalli, Navagat Prakash and Jay Oza hold a universal clout despite the difference between the situations and the circumstances in each of the shorts.

'Unpaused' starts off on a promising note with 'Glitch' which is futuristic in its execution and discusses the probability of love in post COVID times. It's a relevant talking point and both Gulshan and Saiyami bring their best act to the forefront. Raj and DK's signature humour is omnipresent throughout the film. 'The Apartment's underlying theme about isolation leading to weak mental health could've been addressed without necessarily basing it upon a conflict which is timeless in nature. Instances and accounts of sexual abuse have been in the news even before the outbreak of the pandemic. Maybe, the film could've focussed upon highlighting the surge in cases of domestic violence. Nevertheless, it's to the benefit of the three actors (Chadda, Vyas and Singh) that you remain vested in the story. 'Rat-A-Tat' and 'Chand Mubarak' address and add further respectability to two character arcs that are seldom explored in our popular Hindi narratives. Women who are single by choice and the aged living self-reliant lives. No matter how cranky or acerbic do they seem to those living around them, it's to the credit of Dubey and Shah who back their respective characters with solid presence. 'Vishaanu' featuring Banerjee and Ohlyan, prompts you to question your privilege and understand that you have a lot to be thankful about in comparison to those struggling to fulfil basic necessities. Both actors who have done stupendous work in 'Paatal Lok' and 'Soni' respectively, imbue grace and dignity into their characters.

Despite multiple films and shows made recently that chronicle the lives and times amidst a pandemic, 'Unpaused' makes for essential viewing. It's great art that offers a soul-stirring reflection.

Which 2022 release are you most excited for?
Which 2022 release are you most excited for?
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