Iyakkunar [Harish Gokul, India, 2018]
Iyakkunar opens with every film reviewer’s nightmare: a face-to-face confrontation with a critiqued director. A heated discussion soon gives way to a frank conversation about the dominance of sensationalism over more worthy subjects.
This short film eschews a conventional plot structure to get right to the heart of its message. As many short pieces make the mistake of trying to cover too much in too small a space, this lean version could have been a breath of fresh air. However, Harish’s film goes too far in the other direction: it just gives the message without any of the sweetness of entertainment to wash it down. After all, it is just one conversation and not a very interesting one at that.
That said, the discussion between the journalist and the director dives straight in to attack the vast amount of coverage given to celebrity gossip compared to the negligible space allowed for social criticism. In these times of click bait and fake news, the director’s points seem particularly salient but, unfortunately, the total lack of characterisation and storyline makes it difficult to care.
A final ‘meta’ twist has the potential to be interesting, but ends up being more confusing than convincing. Harish leaves it up to the viewer to connect the dots, but too much is left unsaid, and the sudden dramatic shift in tone is robbed of its impact without further explanation.
While Iyakkunar does certainly put up a valiant argument against sensationalist reviews, this is not enough to balance out its flaws. Here’s hoping that confrontations between reviewers and directors remain in the realm of fiction.
'Iyakkunar' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.