Almost 80% of the movie Lover is really an uncomfortable experience if you have witnessed people who went through toxic relationships in life or if you have experienced it yourself. Prabhuram Vyas’s movie is indeed a daring attempt as it has the confidence to address a topic that can spark a debate around the political correctness around it. While a large chunk of the movie might make you feel that the director might eventually make you root for the hero by showing what made him such a beta Arjun Reddy, the practical yet happy realization that happens in the end really felt like a relief.
The movie is about the couple Arun and Divya. They had been in a relationship since their college days. But post-college, things have not been that smooth, and we see that Divya has a job and Arun is struggling to generate income. Even though he is the struggling one, the typical orthodox mind of Arun has always tried to control Divya. And we are shown that breakups and patch-ups are quite frequent in this relationship. The evolution of this relationship is what we see in Lover.
In many ways, this movie can be a guide to someone who is unable to recognize the toxicity in their relationship. The central character, Arun, is a broken person who has had a terrible family life growing up, and he imagines his life with Divya as an escape from all that trauma he is carrying. However, the scars have resulted in the creation of a character with huge trust issues, and it has reached a point where Divya takes care of his emotional frustration by hiding things from Arun that actually make her happy. In retrospect, I would say I liked how Prabhuram Vyas placed that grey area of empathizing with the gaslighting mentality of the hero.
As I said, the decision to make a movie about this space in a relationship really needs to be appreciated. The frustration the movie creates in the audience’s mind by making us believe that the leading lady might give him second chances forever, eventually works in favor of the movie’s politics that stands with the heroine. The issue I felt with the writing was in the Gokarna chapter, where the character of Arun becomes a bit too transparent and comical. In the first half, the manipulative nature of Arun is so drenched in love that it can create a dilemma in our minds. But that finesse in presenting those tactics of Arun is not there when it comes to the second half. The whole conversation about “giving freedom” and the events that happen around it does not have the kind of subtlety that was there in showing the character in the initial portions of the movie.
K Manikandan portrays the various shades of Arun in a very believable way. The way Arun loses it every time doesn’t feel redundant, and there is something in his eyes that makes us realize why he is such a person. Arun is someone who knows he is flawed but believes he should be accepted despite those flaws. And Manikandan manages to give an aura of change in perspective when we see the character in the final bits. Sri Gouri Priya as Divya is actually shouldering the movie pretty much equally with Manikandan. Divya is a character who is stuck between empathy and self-respect, and Priya depicts the gradual evolvement of the character along with the vulnerability beautifully on screen.
The essence of Lover, which sort of says understanding and empathy don’t need to come at the cost of losing self-respect and always fearing, is really good. The fluctuations in the writing, especially in the second half, are causing some issues with the movie being engaging. With performances that really embody the characters with realness, I would say Lover is a flawed yet relevant film.
With performances that really embody the characters with realness, I would say Lover is a flawed yet relevant film.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended