Mostly Boring, Partly Engaging
Amazon Prime Video
What Is the Film About?
Unpaused is an anthology with stories connected to the woes of different people in the pandemic. All five stories put us in the shoes of five different people who undergo a lot of emotional burn due to the problems induced by COVID in their lives. We have stories on – Job losses, COVID war rooms, separation of families due to the Lockdown, and the life of those directly involved on the frontline.
As said earlier, we have five different stories. Shreya Dhanwanthary of Scam 1992 is the only major known face in the anthology. We get to see her in a character of an independent woman who goes through problems in her relationship after she loses her job. She performed it well. Geetanjali Kulkarni in War Room is good as a stressed mother caught between morality and revenge. The third story is a forgettable fare. There are decent performances in the fourth story – Gond Ke Laddu. And the last part, Vaikunth has an excellent performance by Nagraj Manjule as a man who works in a cemetery. It is a character who should be rigid like a rock in the middle of so many deaths but can not stand the very thought of losing his father.
Unpaused is all about the COVID-induced horror stories. The pandemic has been in our lives for the last two years and so, it is a good theme to pick. But then, the makers may have got the timing right. They may be a good one year late in making this. We have consumed so many real and heart-rending stories in the media and social media and definitely, it needs a herculean effort to better all those. However, that is not definitely easy.
1. The Couple:
Easily the most relatable story of the five. Many people losing their jobs in the pandemic for no reason and that leading to problems in their personal lives – is something we heard very frequently in the first wave. But then, this story happens in a rush. It is executed in haste that we do not connect to the theme and it is over before we realize it. A better treatment would have got a winner for sure.
2. War Room:
A teacher posted in a COVID war room was approached for a bed to a man who is responsible for her son’s death. She is confused if or not to help or take revenge. It is a decent premise but the director himself seems to have been confused so as to where to lead the story and left it midway. It loses the steam towards the end and will leave us wondering what the director actually wanted to tell. Between forgiveness and revenge, he took neither of the paths and left the story stranded as well.
3. Teen Tiagada:
Easily the worst of the anthology. It is the story of three guys struck in a deserted building with some stolen consignment. All three have their own problems and want to get some money from the mastermind who actually dies due to COVID. All their backstories are not established well. We do not connect to their problem earlier and the problem they face later. Right from the start to the end, we feel the story is not going anywhere. It is almost like the makers wanted to have five stories and filled it up with something to make up the number.
4. Gond Ke Laddu:
Easily the best of the five. It is one story that leaves us with a smile at the end. A mother is stuck in the village while her daughter delivers a baby in a faraway city. Learning Internet herself, She sends some Laddus via courier which leads to another story. It is one segment that actually has some ‘story’ and drama in it. In the start, we feel there is some exaggeration in the courier boy’s struggle but it is neatly wrapped. The central characters – the mother, the courier boy, and his wife worked well. If not for this story, the entire Unpaused would have easily collapsed.
The most intense among the five. The protagonist works in a cemetery. His father is infected and was taken to a hospital. While he does not know how he is, he is thrown out of his house with his son. As he helps cremate many bodies, his father’s name shakes him up. As said, it is the most intense and heavy. Even though the initial parts give us a lengthy feel, we slowly connect to it. The ending is again good and emotional making it a good watch.
So to sum up, Unpaused is all about two good stories and a half good story. The half-good story comes as the first episode and the biggest problem is two badly made stories coming before the other two good ones. For an average audience, it is difficult to sit through that two bad stories and wait for the good ones to come. But if you are reading this review before watching Unpaused, you would not miss anything if you would directly go to the last two episodes. Finally, as a whole, two good stories can not save this anthology.
Music and Other Departments?
Unpaused is an Amazon Studios production that has ‘quality’ all over it like every product. The technicalities are sound in every episode. Right from the music, cinematography, production design, etc everything works without a complaint. All five episodes are 25-30 minutes. On paper, the runtime looks apt for an anthology. But even then, we feel bored and lag at places.
Relatable Central Theme
Well-executed drama in the last two episodes
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Maybe For Two Stories
OTT Review: Unpaused: Naya Safar on Amazon Prime Video Review by Siddartha Toleti