LSD is a breakthrough in the art of expression. The hand-held camera view is just one part of the whole deal. The other, infinitely weightier, ingredient here is its clever subtext of social commentary. This LSD does while it lays bare a frightening emotional fabric of society - comprising shallowness, volatility and amorality all joining hands to build up to an alarming crescendo.
This digitally shot movie comprises 3 brief stories told one after another, captured by a hand-held camera, a closed-circuit TV camera and a spy cam, respectively. These sub-plots converge at unexpected points in time and space - this is one of the features that evokes admiration for the hand that helmed this flick.
Spoofs of DDLJ
inaugurate the proceedings, because the protagonist of the first story is an aspiring director and fan of Aditya Chopra. This story is about his young innocent love with his heroine, a love that headily and rashly rushes into marriage because of fear of the girl's roughneck father. Their affair eventually has sad consequences.
The second sub-plot is a drama around the socially relevant issue of surreptitiously shot pictures of nude women, set in a 24x7 department store with security cameras. The third story is about a rejected and aspiring singer seeking revenge on a top pop star (real-life references here cannot be missed), by way of a "sting operation", which she does through a defeated ex-Tehelka operator.
For the curious, sleaze is not part of LSD's visuals - just part of its critique - except for one "explicitly blurred" scene of the actual act of sex. However, otherwise there is a high amount of suggestive sexual content, and plenty of profanity being hurled about, seeing as the protagonists are all people with mercurial temperaments and quick-fix sensibilities, caught in agitated circumstances; and seeing as they mostly don't know there's a camera around.
Human depravity watched through a little hidden camera looks all the more immoral, and so, whenever there's a "naughty" dialogue or scene that brings out sniggers, the mirth eventually dies down when the gravity of the situation hardens. LSD has just such a perspective, and there are also indignant references to the injustice that the real-life enterprise Tehelka faced post its blockbuster sting.
The flaws of the flick are that there is no morally victorious closure to a few of the offences - extremely grave ones, actually - that LSD shows. Even though Banerjee winds up in the end with the one "good" person who serves as the beacon of hope after all the scum has been dug up, it's not enough. There's suffocating reliance on dark motives to carry the stories along, and nothing much to comfort you.
Because of the commonplace-ness of the conversations and the incidents, the narrative has an everyday, indoors feel to it. Yet, the drama is gripping, and whenever the plots knot into their respective climaxes, there is palpable tension in the air, thick enough to cut with a knife.
The hidden camera gimmick lets everything seem real, including the background score that at several points in time consists of real background sound. Also, the authenticity of the performances doesn't leave scope for criticism, but this is not a film you'll watch for the performances - it is a directorial feat to have put this story together.
Catch LSD some time if you know what you're getting into. It may not stick around at the theatres for too long, though.