Of strangers and Skype talks
Actor-filmmaker Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan never thought his film Lens would get a theatrical release. Winning the prestigious Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation award for the film, however, made him more confident. “Initially, my focus was only on film festivals. The original run time was about an hour and 48 minutes. Now, it has been cut by 28 minutes. Nothing much has drastically changed, except for the pace of the film. Also, I’ve added a song,” he tells us. Jayaprakash, who has appeared in films like Muran and Yennai Arindhaal, quit his job as a software engineer in the United States to pursue his passion, filmmaking.
The director, who took two-and-a-half years to work on the script, says “Lens is for a cosmopolitan crowd. The characters in my film speak Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and English. That gives it a pan-Indian appeal.”
Since 70 per cent of the story revolves around Skype interactions between two characters, who are from different backgrounds, it was challenging for him to structure the film in a way that would ensure that the audience’s interest gets retained. “What if somebody in front of your screen threatens to commit suicide? That’s the crux of the story,” he adds.
Talking about what inspired him to come up with Lens, Jayaprakash says that there was this Canadian teenager, who had described her experience of being bullied online. “She left a suicide note, which went viral on social media. Her death in 2012 made the headlines,” he says. While Vetrimaaran has acquired the rights of this cyber-thriller, GV Prakash has composed the music.
Veteran Tamil theatre artiste, Anand Sami, plays a character called Yohan in the film, while Jayaprakash himself plays one of the lead characters. “Online bullying is prevalent these days and I thought it’s high time I discussed this. Internet voyeurism can make anyone an easy victim. The film also throws light on how we feel the need to peek into the private lives of others.”