Among the few good things that 2020 brought were quarantine films, depicting lives amid lockdown
Creativity thrives even amidst conflict. And this has been true since time immemorial. Thus since March 2020, even when it seemed like the world had stopped, artists continued creating art. While confined to their homes during lockdown, some filmmakers took this opportunity to come up with what came to be termed ‘quarantine films’.
Recently, Dough Liman’s Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, opened with rave reviews (to US audiences, and is yet to release worldwide). It has also been termed by many as one of the best quarantine films till date.
The film revolves around a couple – Paxton and Linda – who are made to realise their differences when they isolate together amid lockdown, both facing various challenges. And how they deal with them or overcome them – either together or as a team, that’s what Locked Down is about.
Long before this, in August 2020, the world saw a Filipino web series Hello Stranger taking the internet by storm. It was the first of its kind series which captured life and love amid lockdown. The series explored a homosexual, virtual love story between two study partners. Another Netflix series, Social Distance, which explored life, loss and loneliness amid pandemic – was also well received.
Not only on the international circuit, India also witnessed a host of out-of-the-box web content which explored the same topic. In June 2020, Home Stories made an appearance on YouTube. The series, featuring four different stories of lives during lockdown, stars Arjun Mathur, Saba Azad, Imaad Shah, Tanmay Dhanania, Veer Rajwant Singh and Apoorva Arora.
In August 2020, Amazon Prime Video released C U Soon – a Malayalam film starring Fahadh Faasil, Roshan Mathew and Darshana Rajendran. The film is a quarantine thriller, involving a young man in Dubai and his missing online girlfriend.
Another quarantine series on Prime, which released the next month, was Wakaalat From Home. This, unlike CU Soon, was a quirky take on how things can go weirdly wrong in a world of Zoom calls and Facetime. The series had an ensemble cast of Nidhi Singh, Sumeet Vyas, Kubbra Sait and Gopal Datt.
But Amazon Prime Video stole the limelight with yet another film exploring this topic. Putham Pudhu Kaalai, a Tamil film anthology, which presented heart-warming stories of the pandemic, and was appreciated by audiences and critics alike.
Like these, various other web series and films like Unpaused, A Viral Wedding, The Gone Game, also depicted the unfolding of life amid one of the world’s worst crises. While some of these were shot remotely – without the extravaganza of a film set or a large crew. Others were shot in sets – with due precautions, following Covid-19 protocols.
And even during such dark times, people found solace in art. Even when confined to their rooms, they got the opportunity to explore beyond the confines of their four walls…all thanks to films and shows. No matter how tough the situation, especially for the entertainment sector, there was never a dearth of fresh content. This was made possible by those who refused to stop working amid the pandemic, against all odds. Artists may not be considered warriors, but they are definitely the ones who kept the calm amid the war.
(Cover image: Still from Locked Down)