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Movie Review: Karnan on Prime Video

GenreAction, Drama
TNS Score85.6
PlatformPrime Video
Run-Time2h 39m
CastDhanush, Rajisha Vijayan, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandram
DirectorMari Selvaraj


The story centres around a furious youth Karnan who lives in an oppressed remote village in southern Tamil Nadu. Caste division and communal oppression haunts the village and continues preying on it as unprecedented events distort Karnan’s ordinary life. In the tremendous struggle that follows, Karnan leads his village’s journey for justice and liberation. The rebellious searing saga displays surrealistic touches as it tells a hot-blooded story of a rebellion.


Karnan’s story is loosely inspired by the authentic events in 1995 at Kodiyankulam of communal oppression. The story is written very explicitly by the director himself as it centres around its main character’s arc and its plot all the time. From the movie’s start, the display utmost gave a glimpse into its storyline and made viewers curious.

Source: The News Minute

The film has dozens of characters to explore, and each serves its importance to levitating the Karnan’s characteristics, which are brought together beautifully, and writing makes each of them real. Mari also parallels the Mahabharata tale by naming several of the characters as Duryodhana, Draupadi and Abhimanyu.


Mari Selvaraj finds a perfect balance between the conventional commercial method and the emblematic storytelling; all the characters is well moulded, lived and tailored in the world of Selvaraj where not only actors but a hawk, fish, dogs, pigs, insects, a horse and a donkey played major roles in storytelling. The horse and the donkey showed so exquisitely that so many times its heaves the whole narrative solely.

Source: Film Companion

In a particular instance, when the villagers got beaten in the police station, the torture was divinely essayed by a butterfly crawling at the wall and trying to escape, showing how precisely the movie has been executed.


Cinematography by Theni Eswar has been brilliant from the very beginning of the film, and some drone shot captures the refinements of the scene. Despite this, the whole movie shot across the village in different weather conditions fulfils viewers’ sincere expectations. Some shots like chasing a horse or donkey with the camera in a beautiful manner quietly display the purpose of using animals. Fight sequence shots are very raw and realistic, keeps the viewers attached to the screen all of its time

Sourcce: The Indian Express


 Music by Santhosh Narayanan is comprehensive in that each drum beat deliver chills and helps to craft the narrative. In one scene where villagers celebrate the death of one of the fellow villagers, Dhanush can be seen dancing flawlessly, with his partner in crimes singing where everyone ended up emotionally wrecked gives the audience the same emotional hit as we can feel it somehow. 


The film has so many brilliant characters who have been portrayed further by a skilled cast of the Tamil cinema like Dhanush, Rajisha Vijayan, Lal, Yogi Babu, Natarajan Subramaniam and many more are involved. Director Mari also made sure that the rest of the supporting cast is actual villagers from that locality to retain the authentic flavour of the locality. Karnan’s character is a furious youth played rousingly by Dhanush, who does not bother to fight with anyone who comes in his path to called his village a wasteland or who dont respect his village’s adults.

Source: TimesofIndia

A little love angel between Karnan and Draupadi, which played by Rajisha, warmly seems to have a crush on Karnan at the starting of the film. A rebel police officer who played a huge role in the film, especially at the climax played by Natarajan, brilliantly fulfils the character demand of being hated in the viewers’ eyes.


Mari Selvaraj’s directional debut film was about caste oriented discrimination and oppression. But, at the same time, Karnan also shows a mirror of these concerns where people had or have to fight for their basic needs and rights. Karnan is a kind of movie that gives the feel of a master paints the canvas, sophisticated and straightforward to start with, but as you delve deeper, the dark, spooky undertones creep out until you try to break the shackles of the bondage and finally the sense of unappeased liberation that neither comforts you nor scares you. A must watch, hard-hitting, convincing, well casted & crafted film.

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