‘UNPAUSED’: A MIXED-BAG AFFAIR THAT FAILS TO MATCH THE MAGIC OF ‘PUTHAM PUDHU KAALAI’ - The Daily Guardian
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‘UNPAUSED’: A MIXED-BAG AFFAIR THAT FAILS TO MATCH THE MAGIC OF ‘PUTHAM PUDHU KAALAI’

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Following its Tamil anthology film Putham Pudhu Kaalai, Amazon Prime Video has come out with the Hindi anthology film Unpaused, also shot during the pandemic and featuring stories about themes of love, fresh beginnings, hope, and chance. Unpaused is an interesting package of five short films that brings together directors like Nikkhil Advani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Raj & DK, Nitya Mehra, and Avinash Arun. Like all package deals, Unpaused  has both pros and cons. But, before we get to the strengths and the weaknesses, let’s first look at the storylines of the various segments. 

The first short film titled ‘Glitch’, directed by Raj & DK, stars Gulshan Deviah and Saiyami Kher. The story is set in the near future where pandemics have become a norm. The world at present is dealing with Covid-30 and everything seems to happen in the virtual space. In these times when people fear human contact, a ‘hypo’ man meets a ‘warrior’ girl on a blind date. As soon as the neurotic man learns that the girl is a pandemic warrior stationed at the frontend to deal with the virus attacks, he freaks out and walks out of the date. But both touch each other in ways they can’t comprehend. Will their chance encounter develop into something more meaningful?

The second segment titled ‘Apartment’, directed by Nikkhil Advani, stars Richa Chadha, Sumeet Vyas, and Ishwak Singh. It follows the owner of a successful online news magazine who learns of her husband’s sexual indiscretions at the workplace. While trying to come to terms with it, she loses all her strength and attempts to end her life. But she stops halfway when a pesky stranger unexpectedly shows up at her door. Will she go back to finishing her ghastly act after he leaves? Or will she succeed in finding the inner strength to face the reality? 

‘Rat – A – Tat’, the third short film in the anthology, is directed by Tannishtha Chatterjee. Starring Lillete Dubey and Rinku Rajguru, this segment follow two women, four decades apart—one who chooses to be alone and the other who is alone because of circumstances. While confronting loneliness during the lockdown, their paths cross in the most unlikely circumstances. Will they succeed in overcoming the stark generation gap and become friends? Or will their egos continue to evade all the possibilities of hope and new beginnings?

The fourth short film titled ‘Vishaanu’ is directed by Avinash Arun and stars Abhishek Banerjee and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan. It follows a young migrant family which gets thrown out of their rented house during the lockdown after failing to pay the rent. They then decide to illegally sneak into a lavish sample flat that’s situated in the same building in which they were working as construction workers. For how long can they stay there? What will happen once the bubble gets busted?

The final segment, directed by Nitya Mehra, is titled ‘Chaand Mubarak’. It stars Ratna Pathak Shah and Shardul Bharadwaj. It follows an affluent middle-aged single woman who is a little paranoid of contagion and wants to avoid social contact at all costs. But, she is forced to seek the help of a young rickshaw driver to get her medicine during the lockdown. The woman’s stubbornness and elitist views are in contrast to the driver’s orthodox views on relationships. Will the two strangers out of their common loneliness form an unlikely friendship? Or will their overwhelming divides get the better of them?

Unpaused can best be looked upon as an interesting storytelling experiment. Anthologies aren’t new to cinematic storytelling but what’s different here is the fact that we are talking about stories filmed during the pandemic and dealing with the themes of new beginnings such as discovering love or finding hope amidst the lockdown. This makes it inevitable to compare Unpaused with Putham Pudhu Kaalai. The striking difference between the two anthologies is that of music. Putham Pudhu Kaalai uses diegetic and non-diegetic music to its great advantage as it compensates for a lot of other weaknesses. There were all kinds of restrictions imposed during the lockdown and so shooting with a small clue under controlled conditions is bound to take a toll on the quality of storytelling. That’s where the music and the songs came to the rescue and Putham Pudhu Kaalai scored heavily. Unpaused, on the other hand, has little to offer on this front. 

While the acting performances are solid all around, the quality of storytelling is mostly inconsistent. ‘Glitch’ has its moments, but the abrupt use of sign language doesn’t add anything to the story. ‘Apartment’ has a good message at its core but it gets a little preachy in the end. Lillete Dubey and Rinku Rajguru are brilliant in ‘Rat – A – Tat’ but despite the promise, it just fails to tug at the heartstrings. ‘Vishaanu’ comes across as the weakest segment of the lot.

Its premise is certainly interesting but the story fails to pick up. Fortunately, Unpaused  ends on a strong note thanks to ‘Chaand Mubarak’, which has a well-rounded story that’s made even more special by delectable performances of Ratna Pathak Shah and Shardul Bharadwaj.

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ARSHAD TO BE SEEN IN TURBANED LOOK IN NEW FILM ‘BANDA SINGH’

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MUMBAI: Arshad Warsi will be seen donning a turban in his new film ‘Banda Singh’.

On Monday, Arshad took to Twitter and shared the first official poster of the movie. In the image, he can be seen sporting a turbaned look as he poses with actor Meher Vij. “Really excited to become #BandaSingh for you all. All we need is your blessings,” Arshad captioned the poster.

As per a statement, ‘Banda Singh’ is a survival story of a man and his family, set in North India and based on true events. It is helmed by Abhishek Saxena.

Abhishek said, “I have been looking for a script like this to direct since a long time as my earlier two films Phullu and Saroj Ka Rishta were on social issues but Banda Singh is about survival. I am quite thrilled to go on floors and roll the film with Arshad, Meher and rest of the cast.” ‘Banda Singh’ will go on floors in mid-November.

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TRAILER OF JOHN’S ‘SATYAMEVA JAYATE 2’ PACKED WITH PATRIOTISM & ACTION

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MUMBAI: The makers of the John Abraham-starrer ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’ finally dropped the trailer of the much-awaited sequel to the 2018 hit ‘Satyameva Jayate’.

The nearly three-minute-long trailer shows John on a mission to fight against injustice, corruption, and misuse of power. He undertakes three different avatars in order to do so.

The trailer, high on patriotism, is packed with action, drama, and powerful dialogues. Sharing his excitement, John said, “I am very happy that cinemas have now re-opened even in Maharashtra and the audiences will be able to experience ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’ in theatres. A film like ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’ is meant for the big screen and for the masses/people who have not been able to watch movies in theatres due to the pandemic. The response by all the exhibitors who saw the rushes has been encouraging, they are also looking forward to the film.”

Divya Khosla Kumar also shared her excitement to be a part of this franchise. “It’s been such a pleasure working with John and Milap. Satyameva Jayate is an iconic film and I am positive that the second instalment will only be a feather to the cap of the film franchise. I hope the audience and my fans embrace me and my performance,” said Divya. 

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BAJRANG DAL VANDALISES ‘ASHRAM 3’ SET IN BHOPAL

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BHOPAL: The upcoming web series ‘Ashram 3’ directed by Prakash Jha has sparked controversy after Bajrang Dal workers ransacked the series’ sets on Sunday during its filming and even threw ink at the director. The filming was going on at the old jail in Bhopal, where the Bajrang Dal workers stopped the vehicles and pelted stones at them, leaving some crew members injured. After the incident, Irshad Wali, DIG Bhopal, clarified, “All the miscreants have been shunned from the premises and no one has been fatally injured, though some vehicles have been damaged. Further action will be taken against those responsible.”

Bajrang Dal Bhopal leader Sushil Sudele said, “We want the film industry to be promoted here in Madhya Pradesh. People should get employment but this land should not be used to humiliate Hindu samaj. In the earlier installment of the series, it was shown that women are exploited inside Ashram, is it so? Stop defaming Hindus and if he wants to gain popularity, then why not name any other religion and see the number of protests that happen. We have given only a warning for now and Prakash Raj has said that he is in talks to change the show’s title.” He added, “I repeat the show’s name will have to be changed from ‘Ashram’ or won’t be filmed here in Bhopal.”

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KARTIK STARTS SHOOTING FOR ‘SHEHZADA’

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MUMBAI: Kartik Aaryan is wasting no time in jumping from one project to another and is all set to start shooting for his next, titled ‘Shehzada’, with co-star Kriti Sanon.

Taking to Instagram, Kartik posted a classy picture in which he can be seen holding the clapperboard of the film in a stylish fashion. For the picture, Kartik stands on the glossy, reflective floor of an elegant, white corridor. Adding a crown emoticon, he wrote the caption, “#Shehzada Shuru…”

Helmed by Rohit Dhawan, ‘Shehzada’ will mark the second collaboration between Kriti and Kartik after their 2019 hit romantic film ‘Luka Chuppi’. Apart from Kriti and Kartik, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Ronit Roy, and Sachin Khedekar are also a part of ‘Shehzada’.

The upcoming project is an action-packed, musical, family film, which will be shot over various schedules in Mumbai and Delhi in the next several months. The film, produced by Bhushan Kumar, Allu Arvind, and Aman Gill, will release on 4 November next year.

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KANGANA ON CLOUD NINE AFTER RECEIVING 4TH NATIONAL FILM AWARD

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NEW DELHI: 25 October 2021 will always be a memorable day for Kangana Ranaut as she received her fourth National Film Award. Kangana was awarded the Best Actress Award for her performances in ‘Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi’ and ‘Panga’.

For the special occasion, she chose to wear a traditional silk saree. She even shared several pictures of her look on her Instagram account before walking up to the stage to receive the award. “All set to receive the highest honour for an artist in the country today …. National Award,” Kangana captioned the post.

This is her fourth National Award. Earlier, Kangana won Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Fashion’ and Best Actress Awards for ‘Queen’ and ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’.

After receiving the prestigious award, she took to the photo-sharing application to thank her parents for being her support system. “We all grow up with a deep desire to be worthy of our parents love, care and sacrifices…After all the troubles I give my mummy papa such days seem to make up for all those mischiefs ..Thank you for being my mummy papa I wouldn’t want it any other way,” wrote Kangana.

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‘SOORYAVANSHI’ PROMOTIONS: KATRINA SHARES HILARIOUS VIDEO OF AKSHAY & ROHIT

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NEW DELHI: Katrina Kaif treated fans with a hilarious behind-the-scenes video from the first of ‘Sooryavanshi’ promotions. Taking to Instagram, Katrina shared a video in which she could be sarcastically seen saying, “So guys, this is the first day of promotions for Sooryavanshi, and I have never seen Rohit sir and Akshay so excited, they are ready to go, they are full of energy, they are like,” and turns the camera to capture Rohit and Akshay resting. The moment both of them realise that they are being captured by Katrina, they ask her to stop. “Don’t record,” Rohit could be heard telling Katrina.

“Arre but you wake up at 5 in the morning, you must be tired,” Katrina teases Akshay, who asks her, “What are you doing? We have a reputation,” and both Akshay and Rohit run away from Katrina in a hurry.

Sharing the video, the ‘Bang Bang’ actress wrote, “Just look at the excitement of the boys for our first-day promotions together @itsrohitshetty @akshaykumar #sooryavanshiintheatres #sundayvibes #sooryavanshi Nov 5th.”

Responding to the video, Akshay also wrote, “Waiting for #Sooryavanshi for a year and a half now, a few moments of peace toh banta hai nah! But pranksters like you clearly want trouble @katrinakaif. No worries, #AaRahiHaiPolice.”

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