Producer-Kalaippuli. S. Dhanu
Director- Mari Selvaraj
Star Cast- Dhanush, Lal, Rajisha Vijayan, Laxmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Yogi Babu, Gouri Kishan and Natarajan Subramaniam
OTT Platform- Amazon Prime Video
The film revolves around an angry young man named Karnan (Played effectively by Dhanush) who relentlessly fights for the rights of his oppressed people.
Can he save them from those who wield power and weapons, especially the corrupt cops who dispense justice depending on what the caste of the victim is?
At a time when police highhandedness, use of excessive force and collusion between lawmakers and law keepers has come under scrutiny in the US, India and other parts of the world, Karnan is a brilliant take on the contemporary politics in Tamil Nadu .
The plot revolves around a small village called Podiyankulam, inhabited by poor people belonging to the oppressed communities who are refused a bus stop.
Their powerful men (obviously of the dominant caste) of their neighboring village, Melur, use this as a means to keep them dependent on them.
In fact during the course of the film you are shown a flashback when an existing bus stop is forcibly removed by the upper caste guys of the neighboring village with the connivance of the corrupt cops. Matters come to a head when Karnan, decides to take up cudgels on behalf of them.
There is nothing in the otherwise outdated film that is new to the viewer. It is actually the same old formula which has been patented by Dhanush’s real life father in law Rajinikant from times immemorial but what sets out to salvage the film beyond measure is the spirited treatment that director Mari Selvaraj who had directed the film Periyerm Perumal earlier gives to the film and elevates it to an altogether different league of its own.
Though the contractor who owns the bus withdraws the case against the villagers for destroying it, Kannapiran the egoistic cop wants to humiliate and punish the poor villagers for having names like Duryodhan and Karnan and not fetching for him a chair to sit when he goes to the village to investigate
Dhanush stands on his own in a complex role that requires him to be timid as well as a rebel in his own village.
The way he twirls his eyebrows or comes to the rescue of his fellow villagers is a testimony by itself to demonstrate how over the years he has blossomed into a fine actor on his own with effortless ease.
Yogi Babu is good as the villager who hates Karnan first but later realizes that he has a good heart.
Rajisha Vijayan shows a lot of promise and stands up to Dhanush who plays her love interest and carries off her deglamorous role with felicity. Lal needs a special mention for the way he has got into the character of his role.
Natarajan as Kannapiran the corrupt and egoistic cop scores with his role which makes you hate him from the bottom of your heart.
All’s well that ends well and the film winds up after a decade with roads lining to the village and the government not only coming up with a bus stop in the village but also commissioning buses from and to the village from all over Tamil Nadu
Don’t miss it and even if you do not know Tamil, there are subtitles in English to help you follow the film with ease