D Meera Chithirappaavai
All of us may have the access to the tool called Cinema but what Mari Selvaraj does with it stands as testimony to the saying “A knife is only as good as the one who wields it”
Mari Selvaraj's Karnan is a tale weaved around social injustice & a protagonist who rises to the occasion. His writing not only dictates the narrative but captivates the viewer from the get-go. This isn’t a film that will let you walk in a couple of minutes late & allow you to be okay about it. The film makes you uncomfortable & angry which is a result of empathy that is triggered by the story & the characters on the screen. Mari Selvaraj's addiction to visual metaphors is contagious. The use of intercuts to show different animals & organisms to drive the narrative forward leaves a great impact & reiterates their existence & how we need to co-exist with them. The film repeatedly uses a series of intercuts among 2 or 3 scenarios that are brilliantly handled by editor Selva.
Dhanush as Karnan is not just about benevolence that we have heard of in Mahabharatham. He is an angry young man who doesn’t end up misplacing his anger but uses it in the right situations effectively. Dhanush once again proves his mettle as an actor & understands that he is not bigger than the story but he is only a significant part of the story. He is a talent that the industry is gifted with. Even when he breaks into a dance sequence he does it with a control that makes us look at Karnan and not the multi-talented dancer that actor Dhanush is.
Actors Lal, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Yogi Babu, Rajisha Vijayan, Natty do exactly what the story demands without any fuss. Though Rajisha might be referred to as the heroine, it will only be right to include her as a supporting actor as the depth & importance of her role doesn’t stand out & that’s not a complaint.
Santhosh Narayan’s music is rustic & authentic to the film’s topographical setting. The BG score promises to stay loyal to the film’s intent & shines throughout. Theni Eshwar’s work with the camera shows the effectiveness of storytelling through a visual medium. The extreme closeups are sure to set your heart on a tremble.
The film is a collaboration of Mari Selvaraj’s genre with actor Dhanush’s genre. Both these filmmakers together redefine heroism & mass moments. Though the film is an extremely focused narrative driven by the writer it gives multiple scenarios for the mass audience to whistle & clap to celebrate the hero. This can function as a case study to show that heroism isn't synonymous with glorification & tackiness.
The only complaint might be the gruesome violence portrayed but it cannot be taken away from the film as it is an outcome of a suppressed man’s anger & desperation against injustice.
Rating - 4/5