Movie Review: Karnan - Chilling Display Of Struggle For Equal Rights

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Karnan is a Tamil film that has been released throughout the country today, i.e., on 9th April 2021. Directed by Mari Selvaraj, the movie’s detailing is both universal and unique at the same time. The basic theme of the movie is the age-old struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed. However, the brilliant direction makes the familiar tale both authentic and relatable. The movie is essentially about an angry young man who acts as the messiah of his oppressed people and fights for their rights and welfare. But does he have it in him to save these people from the ones who possess both weapons and power? The movie begins with the scene of a young girl who suffers from fits and is seen lying on the road, completely helpless. Although vehicles continue crossing that stretch of road on either side of her, not one stops to help her. The camera then rises higher to give us a God’s eye view of this heart-breaking scene. The girl dies because of the lack of help, only to become a Goddess. The next scene showcases the iconic song - Kanda Vara Sollunga. The audience sees a whole village praying to the Gods for Karnan (Dhanush) to return. This is the first instance where the director gives the protagonist a mythical status. The first shot that we see of Karnan is his feet and not his actual face. His feet are splayed with blood because of being trampled by cops. His hands are then seen handcuffed while his head is covered with a thick black cloth. The audience sees who Karnan really is through a painter’s creation with fire and his tattoos on other people’s bodies. On the surface, the film might seem to have the same old plot, but the direction has made the movie a stunning masterpiece. The entire movie revolves around Karnan’s fight with the oppressors for the public good. The director strategically takes his own sweet time to set up the characters and the milieu in the first half so that he can build up the pressure as the film progresses. The film attempts to showcase how violence can sometimes be cathartic.

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