What a film!
Truth be told, I had absolutely no expectations from Unpaused. One of the main reasons being it’s not promoted well. Till now, I had not even watched its trailer. I am sure there are many out there who don’t even know that a masterpiece called ‘Unpaused’ has just been released on Amazon Prime Video.
Since the backdrop of all the stories was lockdown and whatever little I had seen of Unpaused, I thought it must be cliched and depressing. We have already seen and lived the worst in 2020. Who wants to relive it? But I was so bloody wrong.
Unpaused is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching.
Unpaused, as mentioned in the trailer, is ‘UNEXPECTED and UNFORGETTABLE.’ Yes, it has all the lockdown elements in it: Fear, Panic, Loneliness, Depression, Suicidal tendencies, Darkness, and Hopelessness. Yet it’s beautiful. The beauty lies in the smile the stories bring on your face regardless of what the characters are going through emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Every story before ending, gives you hope and sunshine. If Unpaused is watchable or recommendation-worthy, it is only because all the stories are excellently written and brilliantly executed.
What I liked the most about Unpaused? Though there are 5 different stories in this 2-hour long film, they are not interrelated, the way stories in such films usually are. One story ends and then the other immediately begins. No complications of connecting the threads. No break in between. Still, there is no strange ‘no break no connect’ feeling here. The transition is smooth and flawless.
Let’s now talk about the stories. I won’t reveal any of the stories here but still try to give you a glimpse of the plots. The first story featured Saiyami Kher and Gulshan Devaiah. This story deals with fear. To what extent can fear change the functioning of human beings. Along with being imaginary to a certain extent, it is also very much based in reality. Ever wondered what are we protecting ourselves from when death is inevitable? Just to delay death by a few years, we are even ready to give up being human? The cost we are paying to extend our lives by a few years (that is also something we cannot guarantee. What if we lock ourselves in the house so that Covid doesn’t kill us, but the cylinder in the house explodes?). Is it all worth it? You will find yourself asking all such questions while watching the very first story of Unpaused.
The second story is about how having to face the issues that we were conveniently pushing under the carpet while living a normal life took a toll on our mental health. This story is just one example but speaks about all of us. Again, a very well-written, wonderfully directed, and beautifully performed story. I would like to mention Ishwak Singh here for his notable performance. It’s easy to make people cry or laugh for that matter but taking up something that asks you to just go with the flow, to give your best and yet leave a mark on the audience is truly appreciable. If you haven’t recognised the guy from the name, he is none other than Imran Ansari from Paatal Lok. I wish he gets significant roles in the future.
The third and fifth stories were about loneliness and companionship. These are the feel-good stories. They restore your faith in human bonding, connection, and humanity. They make you believe in the healing power of companionship. While lockdown was depressing for some people, some lonely souls also learnt to find company in stranger souls. What other option they were left with anyway? In this ruthless, ‘no other option than you’ times, we learnt to accept the other human being as he/she is, and then found solace in them. Because just like we needed them, they needed us too. So we adjusted, compromised, sacrificed, and surrendered to whoever held our hands. And life, at least for a while, became magical.
The fourth story shed light on the harsh realities of life, though this time the spotlight was on the labourers, it still spoke volumes about the emptiness of the human race. How if only the ones who had everything shared something with the ones who have nothing could have made this world a better place. And the last scene in this story: it leaves you speechless. A little because you are helpless and a little because you are shameless. Helpless because you could do nothing for the ones who were suffering even when you wanted to and shameless because you could do so much for them but you didn’t do. Now these are totally two different groups I am talking about. Only you and I know which groups we belong to.
In short, Unpaused is a refreshing take on lockdown and the lives it changed. Watch it now? Absolutely! What are you waiting for?
And yes, it is one of those rare OTT releases that can be watched with your entire family.
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video