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Karnan Review – Movies Rediff.com

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Karnan Review – Movies Rediff.com

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After Aadukalam and Asuran“This is another film that Dhanush will be proud of,” says Divya Nair.

IMAGE: Dhanush in Karnan.

Three years ago when I wrote about kaalamany people, including some of my friends and fans of Rajnikanth, felt that the film was a disappointment and didn’t have much to offer.

But for me kaala was an important film. And reasons here and here!

Like kaalaI really waited Karnan.

At first, when I saw the trailer, I felt that Karnan – directed by Mari Selvaraj – could be another story about a boy and a girl from a forbidden caste or community who fall in love and the consequences they face.

After watching the movie, I am happy to know that Karnan does not fit into this dusty premise.

The film takes us to the time before the 1990s, when a young village girl lies helplessly in the middle of the road.

She has had a seizure and is fighting for her life.

Buses and other vehicles rush past her in broad daylight, but none of them stop to find out what’s going on or offer help.

As the opening credits roll, the camera pans to the girl’s face, which slowly changes to the face of a deity that can usually be found in any village or temple in Tamil Nadu.

This is a powerful visual metaphor.

I was led to believe that Selvaraj wanted to tell his audience that a girl’s face doesn’t matter. Because this could be the story of anyone who was oppressed but suffered in silence.

The deity can be a symbol of God, a higher power or law, whose face, imposed on this sacrifice, is ineffective, powerless, like mere symbolism.

In contrast, the village worships a headless human body, which is also the subject of gossip among the neighboring villagers, who identify them as strange people belonging to the wasteland.

IMAGE: Rajisha Vijayan and Dhanush in Karnan.

Fast forward a few years, maybe a decade or more after the young girl was left for dead, and nothing much has changed.

The villagers of Podiyankulam village still do not have a bus stop and have to walk to the nearest bus stop in Melur where they are constantly ridiculed and beaten for no reason.

Job seekers wake up before the sun and start their day waving to private trucks and vehicles crossing their village in hopes of hitching a ride.

They would rather wait with dignity at their village than swallow their pride and be abused by aimless thugs from the neighboring village who are just looking for another opportunity to pick on these hapless villagers.

We are told that countless requests to the faucet and bus operators have been in vain.

As a result, girls are forced to forego education, men cannot find work in the city or change their condition and future. Add to this that the atrocities of those in power simply do not stop.

IMAGE: Lal and Dhanush in Karnan.

Frustrated by years of oppression, Karnan (played sincerely by Dhanush) decides to fight back.

He vows to avenge his sister’s death and make amends for his people. This is how a hero is born out of pure desperation.

The director does not mention a specific caste or community, but his subtle use of animal imagery and daily conversations to show oppression is to be applauded.

There is a donkey whose legs are tied and shown lame. When Karnan asks why he can’t be released, his grandfather Yeman (Lal) says that if he runs away, the owner won’t be able to find him.

It’s about control and abuse of power, as you see it every day, but don’t question it and let it go and watch what happens.

The script is just perfect. As soon as Karnan releases the donkey, the animal, free from all fetters, runs up to the hill.

There is no master to stop him; we learn that these shackles were just an imposition.

Karnan, who questions everything from superstition to pointless gossip and tradition, never gets the right answers. But that doesn’t stop him from fighting.

When a pregnant woman from his village cannot find a car to get to the hospital, her son – a little boy – throws a rock, which ends up stopping the bus.

Before the driver or the conductor can attack the boy, the villagers come to the rescue.

Led by Karnan, they crash the bus, hoping to send a message to the authorities.

All Karnan wanted was to join the army and make his parents proud.

All Pozhela wanted was to go to college and study.

The villagers demanded only a bus stop and a manifestation of elementary humanity from the authorities.

But Karnan’s case is lost when S.P. Kannabiran, the officer assigned to investigate the case, takes matters into his own hands.

One thing leads to another, and before you know it, their hands are covered in blood.

The scene where Kannabiran interrogates the villagers is really important to this movie. When he enters the village, you can feel his disgust towards people.

He asks for a chair to sit on but doesn’t get one.

He then orders the village headman to get rid of the turban.

The villagers politely explain why this is not possible; he always wears it as a mark of respect.

You might think that this is just a modest piece of cloth, an accessory worn by a farmer, in this case the head of the village. But here the incident becomes personal.

The villagers are tricked and taken to the station, where they are mercilessly beaten and left to die.

Fleeing from police brutality, when Karnan and friends bring the villagers home, the village head points out: He (joint venture) didn’t hit us because we messed up the bus. He hit me because I was wearing a turban. He hit me because my name, the son of Maadasami, was Duryodhan.”

‘How dare you?’ Kannabiran repeatedly asks when he lati blames the elderly, helpless villagers.

It is this simple audacity of thought that defines here our oppressor Kannabiran. Everything else that follows is only a consequence of this vile thought.

Karnan is a fitting name for Dhanush, the protagonist of this film, whose key characters are inspired by the Mahabharata.

His cause may be sincere, but is Karnan using the right means to get justice?

Worse, is he offered a choice at all?

All these years we have been treated to Karnan, the anti-hero of the Mahabharata. But Karnan Marie Selvaraj is the real hero of Podiyankulam.

Having absolutely no resources, he builds a confident army, puts everything on the line and goes to war.

Will he win the war? And what price does he pay?

After Aadukalam and Asuranthis is another film that Dhanush will be proud of.

Along with Lal as Yeman and Rajisha Vijayan as Draupadi, the trio lead the film with serious performances.

Background score and music by Santosh Narayanan, especially the title track. Kanda Vara Sollungareflects the essence of the film and the director’s message to society.

In times like these, when atrocities against disadvantaged communities are hidden in the paper in the form of 50-word news, Karnan current, must-see film.

Rediff Rating:

Presentation: Rajesh Alva/rediff.com

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