Movies

Lens: Porn with a silver spoon

A still from 'Lens'

A still from 'Lens'

Sixty seconds into  Lens , we know that Arvind’s marriage isn’t working. He’s closeted in a room, furiously typing something into the computer. His wife is in the other room and when she wants to have a chat with the husband, all she’s staring at is a sticky-note that says, ‘Please knock and come.’

 

He tells her (rather yells) that he’s busy working on a project for US clients. But, he clearly isn’t, we learn in a bit, when director Jayaprakash (who also plays the lead) lets us into the room. There, Aravind is wearing a mask of Salman Khan and is logging on to the Internet as ‘salmanboy9623’, or something as shady as that.

He’s chatting with someone called Julie, and what follows is an unnerving Skype conversation that sets the tone for the entire film. Aravind looks like a regular modern guy who has loving conversations over phone with his daughter Shreya, but he also lives… another  life - on the Internet, and one filled with flirty chat messages and sexual passes at random women. Aravind is that normal-guy-doing-voyeuristic-stuff in the private space that is his bedroom. He could be any of us .

 

When he gets a friend request from a girl - he gleefully accepts it in the hope that it would lead to some exciting times - Aravind is drawing close to trouble. The person on the other side is a bald, menacing looking man (Anandsami) who has a rather strange request. “Watch me commit suicide,” he instructs Aravind.

 

Aravind is shocked, and so are we. Slowly, the story unveils, and we learn why Anandsami (or Yohan, as he’s called in the film) has cornered Aravind. He has a colourful past that is linked to Aravind’s present.

 

Lens  plays out like a documentary in many ways, but one that never lets you take your eyes off screen. It talks about issues relevant to today’s times – the need to introspect before we share a photo or video, especially one that borders on pornography - but where it succeeds is the manner in which it all comes together. There’s hardly any message in the format that Tamil cinema conventionally delivers, but  Lens  shouts for attention.

The performances are splendid, especially that of Anandsami who’s a beast in the present and a beauty in the pleasant flashback. Ashwathy Lal scores as Angel in that brilliant sequence in which she passes on a message to the audience - one that’s poignant and shocking, at the same time.

 

When I first watched  Lens  late last year, it was mostly in English and a tad too long. In its new avatar (less than an hour-and-a-half), it is tighter. The background music (by GV Prakash) and interesting frames from SR Kathir elevate the mood on the big screen. What doesn’t work, though, is the poor lip-sync; it’s clear in many scenes that the characters aren’t mouthing their original lines. That’s one of the minor grievances in an otherwise brave, hard-hitting effort that will haunt long after you’ve watched it.


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Printable version | Oct 1, 2022 3:51:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/lens-porn-with-a-silver-spoon/article18436355.ece