Iyer In Arabia Review | A Wasted Opportunity to Create a Pertinent Political Satire

In the current world politics, we can all see the dominance of extremism and how the typically neutral people have been inclined towards such extremist narratives. MA Nishad, with his new movie Iyer in Arabia, has plans to tap into that space and create a satire. But rather than the paper-cutting knowledge of the situation, there is no effort on a writing or making level to make the audience understand the relevance of this satire in the current context. With a checklist kind of script that trolls many categories in an untidy manner, Iyer in Arabia might have been a bearable creation if they had opted for a 20-minute series format.

Sreenivasa Iyer and his wife Thansi Rani are the central characters of this movie. Iyer, who took VRS from his service at AG’s office, is now a right-wing sympathizer, and he is doing all the illogical stuff. At one point, he realizes that his son is planning to move to the Middle East against his wishes, and he also happens to learn that he is in love with a Muslim girl. A restless Iyer decides to go to the Middle East along with his progressive wife, and the events that unfold there are what we see in MA Nishad’s Iyer in Arabia.

As I said, the germ of the idea has the potential for a political satire that is very essential in keeping the people politically aware. But the problem is with the writing. It is almost like the movie had only three bullet points. 1. Troll the Hindutva folks, 2. Troll the extremely religious Muslims, 3. Troll the fakely progressive rich people. What you get in this film is a series of stitched scenes that are only occasionally funny. The way MA Nishad plays the neutral card by mocking everyone feels too safe, and there is no craft involved in the writing to impress us.

Mukesh plays the title character, and I must say his signature style in comedy along with his age makes him a really good choice for this character. The actor who felt more in place, in my opinion, was Urvashi who as the progressive wife of Sreenivasa Iyer was extremely convincing despite the writing not giving her much space to make her real. Dhyan Sreenivasan plays an important character in the story, but in terms of screen time, the character is quite small. The same can be said about the character played by Shine Tom Chacko. Durga Krishna plays the role of Dhyan’s character’s love interest, and it was again a character that never felt like a challenge.

In a recent interview, actor Sidhique talked about the terminology “moothrappattu”, which basically means when that song comes, you can go to the toilet, as it is pretty much inconsequential to the movie. In Iyer in Arabia, MA Nishad starts the film with one such song and that very much explains how hastily this movie has gone from paper to production. The mockery Mr. Nishad is doing is ineffective due to the way the events are unfolding in a very inorganic way in the film. The creative laziness and budget constraints are clearly visible in how the camera moves in the movie, and the frames are set up. A miniature version of Aneesh Anwar’s Raastha is there in this movie as well. The music and background score were pretty much forgettable.

Iyer in Arabia felt more like a wasted opportunity to make a solid satire. If you are a politically aware person, some of the key characters in this movie will be extremely relatable to you. But rather than developing an engaging film with those relatable characters, MA Nishad decided to hastily assemble a comedy film that might feel passable as 30-second reels, but not as a two-hour and twenty-minute long feature film.

Final Thoughts

MA Nishad decided to hastily assemble a comedy film that might feel passable as 30-second reels, but not as a two-hour and twenty-minute long feature film.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.