When the pandemic-induced lockdown forced us to hit a pause button, who could have thought that an anthology would soon be made on the same to un-pause and relive it all. An alnhology of five short stories, Unpaused, all cut out of the same cloth-the pandemic, is a daring effort by Amazon Prime Video to collaborate with ace directors and produce something that’s driven by content and emotions. So much so that all the five directors, Raj & DK, Nikkhil Advani, Nitya Mehra, Avinash Arun and Tannishtha Chatterjee call ‘to be back on the sets and working’ as their unpaused moment of love, hope, friendship, dreams and happiness, respectively.
The independent feel
Raj & DK: Glitch (Story of love)
A call from Amazon immediately made us jump to an idea of working again, although we were not sure which story to work on. The tiny budget, controlled crew and environment, it almost made us remember the initial days of independent film making. It stars Gulshan Deviah and Saiyami Kher. We were lucky to have got yes from a method actor like Gulshan and Saiyami.
Cast it away
Nikkhil Advani: Apartment (Story of hope)
Tannishtha Chatterjee: Rat-A-Tat (Story of happiness)
I have directed a single movie before Rat-A-Tat, which was my own story. To work on Rat-A-Tat, the difficulty was to take the ownership of someone else’s story and direct it. The idea was to keep the annoying reality seem exciting and filled with happiness. Not to forget, the unlikely friendship between two loners (played by Rinku Rajguru and Lillete Dubey), one by choice and the other by circumstance.
Back to school
Avinash Arun: Vishaanu (Story of dreams)
I was excited but also skeptical of the situation. It was almost going back to school as I called my friend from FTII to write me a script and then to work with Abhishek Banerjee, another FTII student. Just like in FTII, every day was a new day and we were vulnerable and creative at the same time. This project reminded us of those days. Once you set your mind, finding locations and convincing people were the least of our worries.”
Crew- the real soldiers
Nitya Mehra: Chaand Mubarak (Story of friendship)
The story is humbling and full of gratitude. When I heard about 10 persons norm on the sets, I was like ‘who is gonna act?’ The cast and crew rose above their roles and we were able to walk on this tightrope to deliver something that will help you pause, reflect and introspect on various things. It stars Ratna Pathak Shah and Shardul Bharadwaj.
When you are given a restricted environment where every action has repercussions, it becomes a game. For me it was and I had fun playing by the rules. Ratna Pathak Shah, actress
I believe that short stories can generate an immediate response that would help us strike a chord with the audience, it will be far more relatable a content than Paatal Lok. Ishwak Singh, actor
I am happy that Nikkhil thought of me for this serious character in Apartment. I know I have been doing funny roles for quite some time which is contrary to the serious person I am in real life. Sumeet Vyas, actor
Vishaanu shows how the poor are the most vulnerable. To get into the skin of the character, I called our old carpenter who went through his share of hardship like hiding in a truck to get back to his home in Rajasthan. But he was able to manage and smile through all this, and his solution, ‘Jugaad se sab ho jata hai’. It was the biggest take-away from the conversation which helped me portray it on screen. Human beings sure know how to survive Abhishek Banerjee, actor