Lens is a Tamizh-Malayalam bilingual film. It was released in Malayalam a year ago and more recently in Tamizh, only last month. It’s not in theaters anymore, at least not in Hyderabad, but you can watch the official upload on Netflix. That’s where I watched it this afternoon.
I heard about Lens a few days ago. It is a hostage-drama with the concept of voyeurism being the singular theme (I didn’t know the spelling, so I copy pasted it with the hyperlink from Wiki for your benefit). Voyeurism is the practice of watching people engage in intimate moments without them knowing it. Ever heard of spy-cams to capture intimate sexual encounters? Yep, you get the idea.
First things first, it is a bold move to select such a theme for a movie. To get actors to star in it although explicit scenes are restricted to a bare minimum, that too with abundant moderation, is still a difficult task. And for the movie to see a theatrical release is a mammoth task in itself. Kudos to the all-rounder Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan for making this film a reality. It is engaging, disturbing and thought-provoking. Above all, it is important in this time and age where cyber-crimes are on the rise. Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan is almost everywhere in the credits. He is the writer, director, producer, actor. And he is above-average to excellent in these departments.
The film starts with a lustful Aravind (JR) engaging in an online sexual encounter with a stranger. His wife, Swathi, played by Misha Ghoshal, is pissed at him for not spending time (the nights) with her. One such fateful virtual encounter messes up Aravind’s life. As a result, a hostage situation arises, both outside Aravind’s home and inside it. As this virtual encounter progresses, Aravind’s deep, dark secrets, which he had ever-so-casually forged and tucked away mindlessly, come to the fore to haunt him. Will Aravind find a way out? Is he a good man? What is morality, after all?
The film takes its time to build. As a result, the first half can be a little testing, but it will soon pick up pace and post interval, there are no speed-breakers. At a run-time of less than 2 hours, the film is gripping in most parts. Convincing acting too is a plus. the production values are not great, and they must not be for this is a film that’s raw and real. Any sophistication takes away the realness from it. Having the look and feel of a very well made short, this film has been bagging several awards at film festivals.
What makes Lens a must-watch is its relevance to this day and age where privacy is almost an illusion. There are several eyes watching us at all times.
I’m going with 3.5 out of 5!
PS: All the images are Netflix screen-grabs.