Covid-19 has rendered the world inoperative. In a year where a single strain of the virus, caught the whole world off guard and forced it to its knees, mankind learnt a new way to get humbled. Forced to sit inside the house, people discovered love and rebuilt relationships. For some people, this brought doom as well. Stats say, that domestic violence increased four-folds with the lockdown. People, who had to struggle for their daily bread, this unfortunate chain of events put a pause in their livelihoods. The lockdown saw an unprecedented exodus of migrants on their feet, with the sword of uncertainty hanging on their heads. ‘Unpaused’, an anthology of five stories that take place within and around the lockdown is about us, the people and our never-ending tryst with life. 

The film begins with director Raj and DK’s ‘Glitch’, a sci-fi take on the future where the virus has turned into its deadliest form and has forced dating to go virtual. A woman about to commit suicide is stopped by a nosy neighbour in ‘The Apartment’ directed by Nikhil Advani. In Tannishtha Chatterjee’s ‘Rat-A-Tat’, two women bond over a mouse and ‘Vishanu’ by director Avinash Arun Dhaware is about the plight of the migrants in the Lockdown. The film ends with Nitya Mehra’s ‘Chand Mubarak’ where a middle-aged woman finds an unlikely companion in an auto-driver. These are feel-good stories, each running for about 20 mins or so, that talk about hope in the times of despair. 

The stories essentially talk about people, their choices and how this pandemic makes or breaks their lives. A migrant family, for a very short-lived moment, lives a life, that they could never have afforded. Two women, bond over their could-have-been choices of life and make the other, understand an aspect that perhaps they themselves could never think of. In a not-so-near future, a man, hysterical about the virus’s infection, realises his misunderstandings about the people who fight the war against the disease. A woman, devastated with her husband’s mistreatment of women, contemplates taking her own life, as she fails to protect them from being abused. A migrant auto driver stuck in the city due to pandemic, longs to be with his family. These are the everyday stories that happen around us. They speak about people, their choices, their follies which eventually shapes up their lives. 

If one has to rank the stories, ‘Vishanu’ and ‘The Apartment’ will be the pick of the lot, with ‘Chand Mubarak’, ‘Rat-a-tat’ and ‘Glitch’ respectively in the order. Abhishek Banerjee and Geetika Ohlyan act their skins out as a migrant family, struggling to make their ends meet. It’s a poignant story, bound to bring a lump to your throats. ‘The Apartment’ has Richa Chaddha, Sumeet Vyas and Ishwak Singh who well enact their parts in the saga of husband, wife and the nosy neighbour. Seasoned actors like Lilette Dubey and Ratna Pathak Shah are great as always. Rinku Rajguru, Gulshan Devaiah, Saiyami Kher admirably play their parts in the stories. It’s refreshing to see these actors in action.

During these times of crises, ‘Unpaused’ reaffirms one’s faith in kindness and empathy for the fellow human. Do watch it.

‘Unpaused’ now streaming on Amazon Prime Video worldwide. Running time 114 minutes. Maturity rating – Parental Guidance for some suggestive language. 

The Cinemawala Rating: 3/5

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