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Why Are We, As A Society So Voyeuristic – Especially When It Comes To Women?

Telugu film NET is a movie that shows the monsters within ourselves, and actually made me a little terrified of myself! 

Telugu film NET is a movie that shows the monsters within ourselves, and actually made me a little terrified of myself! 

The Russian Sleep Experiment is my favourite horror story. Why? The best scary stories are the ones that bring the monsters really close to home. The Russian Sleep Experiment goes a step further and makes us the monsters – monsters who are just waiting for the opportunity to surface.

It is of this story that NET reminded me, even though superficially they could not be more different.

NET is the story of Laxman, a regular guy who also happens to be a voyeur – sounds familiar? We follow him as he becomes increasingly obsessed with the object of his ‘affection’, a woman he watches through a pornographic website unbeknownst to her. And we cannot help but watch in horror as he ruins the lives of everyone around him in pursuit of this woman.

Are we all voyeuristic antagonists?

The fact that we are viewing people and their relationship dynamics through a screen just like Laxman is doing, adds to the creepiness factor. And because we view Priya (Avika Gor) through Laxman’s limited perspective, we feel his frustration and curiosity when he is left with not enough information about her.

I also observed myself feel his anxiety when he almost got caught. Despite all this, I felt no sympathy for Laxman, and therein lies the brilliance of NET.

From the moment Laxman’s character was introduced, I absolutely hated him! He never ceases to be a disgusting asshole, and that makes the identifying with him part even more jarring. I couldn’t digest the fact that I had anything in common with this toxic man who didn’t think twice about abusing his wife. But there was no denying that I was as intrigued as he was.

Voyeurism is our collective sin. We seem to love watching (here, ‘watching’ doesn’t just refer to literally ‘watching’) people, especially women, without their permission. We may not do it in the same way or as creepily as Laxman does, but we definitely do it. For example, what, really, is our obsession with celebrities?

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The irony of voyeurs

How can the same man cry that a random woman has been hurt, while simultaneously hurting his wife? How can the same man shamelessly ogle other women in the presence of his wife while also trying to play saviour to another woman because she has been cheated on?

It is the shock we feel at Laxman’s complete lack of self-awareness that pushes us to take a good, hard look at ourselves. We meddle with things we shouldn’t be interfering in, ironically neglecting the same problems in our own lives, just as Laxman does. And what do we truly gain out of doing this? Not much as we see in NET.

Watching this film has truly made me question if we all have a little Laxman in ourselves. And it is a reminder to me to keep the one in me in check. Watch NET (now streaming on ZEE5) for a movie that makes you ask some difficult questions of yourselves.

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