First, we had the lockdown, then the series of unlocks. Ergo, life virtually paused for a while, only to unpause later. Which means corona or no corona, the show must go on. Despite vagaries of fate and insufferable realities; haunting fears and incorrigible longings.
‘Unpaused’ is a testimony to all the pitfalls we ran into or ruminated on even in the pre-pandemic era, but Covid-19 amplified them further. Here we have an anthology of five short films, which offers an insight into these intricacies, separately, in the time of a pandemic.
Glitch is the first of the five films in the anthology directed by ‘Stree’ fame Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, depicting a Covid-fearing man (Gulshan Devaiah) hesitatingly-but-madly falling in love with a Covid-warrior (Saiyami Kher), observing the Covid protocol via modern dating apps and devices. Both actors seemed in sync portraying their characters.
The imagination of writer-director takes a futuristic flight when the film refers to unending Coronavirus variants assailing the humankind. A new strain of coronavirus sweeping the United Kingdom had not hit the headlines when the movie began streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Apartment, directed by Nikkhil Advani shows up the agony and guilt of a woman (Richa Chadha) whose husband (Sumeet Vyas) is a sexual predator, blaming her for his pervert actions. The woman decides to end her life, but her attempts are thwarted by a neighbour (Ishwak Singh), keeping an eye on her. Richa is once again aptly evocative, embodying the shades of her character. However, the story does not strictly fit into Covid-19 theme, with just characters wearing masks and resorting to video chats.
Rat-A-Tat, filmed by actor-turned-director Tannishtha Chatterjee is a story of two neighbours, women with age and temperamental difference brought closer by a rat amid the pandemic. The seemingly-tough older woman (Lillete Dubey) undergoes catharsis trying to counsel the modest-but-confused younger one (Rinku Rajguru) about the importance of relationships.
The fourth short film, Vishaanu, tells a sordid tale of the real-life victims of lockdown. The labourers who lost their jobs and opted for reverse-migration. This time director Avinash Arun Dhaware – who sketched the dark underbelly of India in crime thriller ‘Pataal Lok’ – narrates the hope and despair of a labourer family. Actors Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Abhishek Banerjee, as a couple enduring highs and lows of the lockdown life, together hit the right notes with the audiences.
The last short film is Chaand Mubarak. Directed by Nitya Mehra, this is an account of a high-society old-aged woman (Ratna Pathak Shah), who has recently lost her sibling. Leading a lonely life, she is scared of contracting coronavirus and is suspicious of everyone. She meets an auto driver (Shardul Bhardwaj) who ends up helping her in running errands. He is also lonely in Mumbai, away from his family in the pandemic time. After initial hiccups, the old-lady mixes up with him, breaking the status barrier between them, finding the lost brother in him.
The film has some weak spots as well, where the viewers might find it a tad boring, but gladly that phase doesn’t last long and can be glossed over.