A person learning how to ride a scooter might not be a big deal but in Prabhuram Vyas’ Lover, Kala (a brilliant Geetha Kailasam), mother of our protagonist Arun (Manikandan), finally learning how to ride a scooter feels like a personal win. Learning to do something new, trying out something that is considered a bad habit, or even realising the future of themselves in a relationship and attempting course correction are all part and parcel of growing up and this doubles as the plot for Prabhuram’s Lover.
Lover tells us the story of Arun and Divya (Sri Gouri Priya), two drastically different individuals connected by their fondness for each other. Arun is like a rock aside a shore — stubborn, old-school and unalterable, whose ideals are set in stone. She’s similar to the waves — boisterous, free-spirited and distinguished. Every time they meet, it’s the union of an unstoppable force and an immovable object, and it’s everything from being explosive to destructive.
Director: Prabhuram Vyas
Cast: Manikandan, Sri Gouri Priya, Kanna Ravi, Geetha Kailasam, Harish Kumar, Saravanan
Runtime: 147 minutes
Storyline: After being in a relationship for six years, a couple tries to come to terms with reality in their own ways
Lover, at least on a surface level, might look like a series of fights between two conflicting personalities that resolve on their own only to begin again until one of them tries to stop the loop. It’s also probably why the film works more as moments hidden within scenes rather than its total. Be it when Arun finds Divya to be lying and heroically goes to confront her, only for the scooter to get punctured midway, or when Divya blocks Arun across social media and he begs for forgiveness using the messaging function of Google Pay, moments in the film are not just poignant and adorable but they are also eerily relatable for couples fighting the odds in a contemporary relationship.
While what the two lead characters go through is not particularly balanced — which is probably the story of every relationship — Prabhuram does a fine job of humanising the characters amidst the exuberant highs and depressing lows of their relationship. While we get to know very little about Divya, we know every aspect of Arun; right from his caring, hardworking mother and a futile father who has another family to his gang of mates. Though the film feeds us on the toxic environment Arun dwells within, neither does it condone nor glorify the toxicity that he exudes. Despite an array of supporting artists, the filmmaker has neatly etched out each character, and the one that stands apart the most is Kanna Ravi’s Madhan.
The most entertaining sequences in Lover are when Arun is interacting with his gang of friends — like the hilarious scene where Arun confuses OCD with OCB rolling papers. The film spends a lot of time letting its leads be confronted and comforted by their friends, and the filmmaker does a brilliant job of showcasing both contemporary relationships and friendships. The fact that the best scene of the film doesn’t involve the two leads but is actually a phone call between Divya and Kala drives home the strength of the script.
Be it the parallels, the lovely scores of Sean Roldan which amplify the mood of the film, or some fantastic performance from the entire cast, especially Manikandan and Sri Gouri Priya, the film has a lot going for it, making you look past its minute flaws. Lover, like a slice of warm apple crumble, served alongside a scoop of ice cream, is a delectable tale of a new-age bittersweet relationship that works well thanks to its sensible and pragmatic approach.
Lover is currently running in theatres