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Karnan Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Saturday, April 10, 2021 • Telugu ]
Karnan Review
Banner:
V Creations
Cast:
Dhanush, Lal, Natarajan Subramaniam, Yogi Babu, Rajisha Vijayan, Gouri G. Kishan, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli
Direction:
Mari Selvaraj
Production:
Kalaipuli S. Thanu
Music:
Santhosh Narayanan

Karnan - Powerful rebellion against oppression

Mari Selvaraj with his debut movie 'Pariyerum Perumal' got instant acclaim for his portrayal of a submissive hero against oppression.  In his second venture he has joined hands with the powerhouse of acting Dhanush and has created a hero who hits back and inspires his people.  Will 'Karnan' be a worthy successor of Pariyan or even surpass him remains to be seen.

The story opens with a preteen girl lying on the middle of the road having fits and no passing vehicle stopping to help her and she dies.  We hear the now popular chartbuster song "Kanda Vara Sollunga" as an entire village prays for the return of its hero Karnan who is suffering police brutality.  The scenes then cut to 1997 and we are introduced to Karnan a young man who like the others in his village is angry about the oppression of the neighbouring village men that prevents even a bus from stopping for them which means the young cannot study or go outside for work.  How this continued oppression and suppression at the hands of the upper class men supported by the bureaucracy forces this ordinary man to inspire a rebellion and turn him into the champion of his people is what 'Karnan' is all about.

'Karnan' is yet another jewel in the crown of Dhanush and he must be congratulated first for accepting a movie that places its cause above his stardom.   The Best Actor National Award winner has given his fans much to cheer for right from the heroic splicing of the fish in mid air, to romancing Rajisha Vijayan, friendship with Lal and finally when he lets his pent up rage to come to the fore and puts his sword to good use against the policemen.  Among the female actors it is Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli as Karnan's elder sister who steals the thunder from everyone else with her impeccable portrayal of the Tuticorin village girl and she also nails the slang to perfection.  Though there is nothing to complain about Lal's acting it is rather repetitive of what we have come to see of him of late.   Yogi Babu in a serious role shines once again while Natty Natraj is terrific as the ruthless cop.  Rajisha Vijayan as the love interest of Dhanush and Gowri Kishan as the village girl who is a key to the proceedings are adequate.  G.M. Kumar, the actors who play Dhanush's parents, the horse owner boy and the rest of the supporting cast have all turned in good performances.

What works best in 'Karnan' is the director's unrelenting focus on the subject he is handling and going all out to create his vision on screen.  The film is loaded with symbolism like the small girl's soul roaming the village, the donkey whose legs are tied, the eagle that steals the chicken, the unfinished painting on the wall, the child born during the blood bath etc, which elevates the powerful storytelling.  The violence that Dhanush metes out on the bus during the interval block and on the cops in the climax is so justified that one cannot but root for not only the hero but the entire oppressed class.   The signature Mari Selvaraj usage of animals such as dogs, cats, pigs, donkeys and even chickens to not only add authenticity to his scenes but also amplify them is commendable.  However the much hyped horse in the posters and trailer loses out to the donkey on significance to the story.    The film not only shows the pent up anger of generations under oppression exploding but also how people in responsible posts like the cop Natty Natraj who doesn't mind wiping out a whole village because of his superiority complex which is riveting to say the least.  It is also commendable to have given space to almost all the characters including small children in the story on par with the hero which helps in amplifying the message loud and clear.

On the downside for people who have seen Dhanush only recently in 'Asuran' in a similar subject may get a feeling of Deja Vu.  There is a bit of unevenness in the screenplay in the first half causing   Another noticeable point is some of the characters do not speak the slang properly causing a dischord in some of the important scenes too.

Santhosh Narayanan once again leaves you wondering whether its his songs that help most in the story telling or his background score.  Between "Kanda Vara Sollunga" to "Uttradheenga Yeppov" its a virtual symphony out there that keeps one focussed on the film.  Theni Easwar's cinematography makes the artificially created village look so real and he alternates between sprawling wide shots of the region to minute expressions of the subjects to further Selvaraj's vision.  Art director Ramalingam, stunt choreographer Dhileep Subbarajan and editor Selva RK are the other pillars of 'Karnan'.  Kalaipuli S Thanu has bankrolled a film which apart from its commercial value is artistic to the core.   Mari Selvaraj has proven that he deserves all the praise that he received for his debut film by following it with an even more compelling film by his hard work and dedication in transferring his writing onto film and succeeding to move his audience in almost every moment he had evisaged.

Verdict : Go for this masterfully crafted film that will linger in your memory for a long time.

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

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