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Lover - an excruciating romantic drama

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K Manikandan seems to be carving a niche for himself by sensibly selecting well-written and unique indie scripts, which has found him on a deserved hot streak in the industry. Coming off the success of yesteryear’s rom-com darling ‘Good Night,’ Manikandan’s latest release is ‘Lover,’ a romantic drama directed by debutante Prabhuram Vyas. The film also stars Sri Gouri Priya, whose work in the first episode of Modern Love: Chennai ‘Lalagunda Bommaigal’ proved her capability to perform. These two stars shoulder the painful romantic drama deftly between them. 

‘Lover’ follows the relationship between Manikandan’s Arun and Sri Gouri Priya’s Divya. The film introduces the couple through their initial courtship, which is a sweet and cordial beginning. However, it is soon revealed that this has not remained the case for the rest of their six year relationship. We watch as the shaky relationship unravels over the course of the film. 

The performances from the central leads are fantastic. Manikandan’s hot-headed and stubborn Arun is both familiar and relatable, as is Sri Gouri Priya’s uncertain and anxious Divya. Both actors create believable and frustrating characters, touching upon very vulnerable and real human flaws and emotions. The supporting characters played their parts well too, as three-dimensional satellites unwillingly being drawn into the messiness of the relationship. 

The true hero of the film is Vyas’s nuanced and well-considered script. It is certainly a step in the right direction for romance in Tamil cinema. Those with short attention spans or short tempers may tire of the film post-interval, however the drawn out portions are wholly necessary to deliver its emotions. Shreyaas Krishna’s cinematography work is fantastic too: starting off claustrophobic in the first half, before moving back a little and giving the characters a little more air to breathe in the second. 

Sean Roldan’s score aids in helping the story flow, however the soundtrack is mostly forgettable. ‘Lover’ is another film which makes one wonder if the musical genre is necessary for every Tamil film, or if the template becomes a hindrance for certain works. 

Overall, Vyas has proved himself to be a talent to keep an eye out for. It is not often a debut film is so confident in its voice and execution. I look forward to see where the director goes from here. If you enjoyed ‘Lover,’ I would highly recommend ‘96’ and ‘Taramani.’

Krishna's rating: 3.5 stars


Official trailer for film below. 

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