Kalki Koechlin is so good in the short film Naked, she overpowers its strong message
Naked, a 14-minute short film, may not be phenomenal in terms of writing, but it does start a conversation about an issue that affects the lives of several women across social media platforms — cyber bullying.
In it, a young journalist Ria interviews actress Sandy, who has recently been in the news for a viral sex video, which was actually a part of her film. Kalki Koechlin plays Sandy with aplomb; she is convincing as a headstrong character who is undergoing a lot of stress.
The film opens with a shot of Kalki in bed, awakened by the sound of her phone ringing. She groans initially, and finally takes the call. Her friend Preeti asks her where she is, and tells her that she has been trying to contact her for a long time. She asks her if she has checked her Facebook. Kalki tells her that she was sleeping and asks her what happened.
"Tera woh short film... that love-making scene... Babes, it's gone viral."
Kalki sits up in her bed, and is in disbelief. She checks her phone, only to find headlines such as "Sandy's sex video leaked", "Actor Sandy's bold clip released" and "Another bold publicity stunt by Sandy". The sense of panic is evident on her face. She is later seen at a loss for words to explain the clip in an interview. She seems to be unable to say the exact words. Kalki's acting chops are apparent through the way she says "naked" and breaks the awkward silence.
Naked offers us an insight on what it means to trend for the wrong reasons, how jokes about rape are not funny, and does a visually good job at that. Kalki through it all does a stellar job.
What gives this film a unique dimension is the conversational ping-pong between the two characters. It is honest and raw. It is in this part of the film that you realise that Kalki steals the spotlight from both her co-star and the overall message of Naked. I felt more for her character than anything else.
The visuals add to the honesty of the story. There are also some hard-hitting lines in the film.
There is a also a comment on slut shaming, power and power equations between the two genders, reclaiming public spaces and trolls who target women on social media. It's evident that the message is a relevant feminist one. I just wish it wasn't presented like a public service announcement.
Watch the film here: