Karnan Movie Review
An authentic, arresting drama pinned with Dhanush’s stellar act!
Story & Narration
Technical Aspects & Music
Mari Selvaraj’s first film was a movement on its own, but it was told in a rather subtle manner with the anger being put across in a controlled state. But in his sophomore effort that is Karnan, the filmmaker unleashes his volcanic rage, bringing out another tale of oppression that pinches us in an authentic, impactful form.
Karnan tells us the story of a village named Podiyankulam, and how the people there live a meek, long-suffering life amidst the little shades of happiness that they get. Being a village which doesn’t even have a bus stop, they are forced to fight for their rights and little luxuries, which they deserve. An angry young man (Karnan) is the darling of the village, but his uncontrolled anger will not be reaping just the good nature for long, as it turns into a struggle for rights against those who wish to take it away from him and his neighbors.
The film on the whole is long-drawn-out, and has a big load of details about the lifestyle of the people out there, and what impacts them. But in between all the narrative elements, Mari Selvaraj ensures that he adds some mass to the class, and gets it done with the help of some greatly used tools such as metaphors, symbolic elements, imagery and tough themes in the society discussed. While the writer in him brings forth a lot of viewpoints, the real authentic story of the village and the unflinching, hurting scenes, the director in him develops a strong eye for visuals and upholds the film’s ability to just show and not tell. The film is predictable and has quite a few dips here and there, but it does give us some visuals that will stick onto our head, and a story that deserves our attention.
Dhanush is once again at his best here, in a role that is a comfortable one for him to essay. He might not have stretches to prove his acting brilliance again, but it is a heavy character to carry on the shoulders, and its effect should be graded at an aerial view.
The film is packed with a talented support cast who all come out in flying colors – Rajisha Vijayan, Lal, Gouri G Kishan, Lakshmipriyaa Chandramouli and Natty are all superb.
The technicalities of Karnan are the biggest plus points – Theni Eshwar’s spectacular cinematography is award-worthy as it captures the village in a grand and effective manner, with Santhosh Narayanan’s world class score adding more excitement and emotions to what’s onscreen. Editor Selva keeps the mood of the film intact for most parts, and does his job neatly.
On the whole, Karnan might be set in a space that we have seen earlier, but the film’s narration and the conviction with which Mari Selvaraj brings about his motive is something to laud for sure. If not for anything else, the startup, the interval block and the climax sequences alone warrant a big screen watch, the rest is just a bonus. Karnan Movie Review by Siddarth Srinivas