Enable Javscript for better performance
Karnan First Impressions Review: Mari Selvaraj, Dhanush weave a solid tale of angst, fury and retrib- Cinema express

Karnan First Impression: Mari Selvaraj, Dhanush weave a solid tale of angst, fury and retribution

Here is the first impression of Mari Selvaraj-Dhanush's Karnan

Published: 09th April 2021

Meeting Karnan
Karnan, just like Pariyerum Perumal, begins with an emotional high. If Karuppi’s plight tugged at your heartstrings, Karnan’s condition will leave you at the edge of your seats. It is from this high that Mari slowly begins to weave in the story of Bodiyankulam and its colourful inhabitants. 

Dhanush as Karnan 

Dhanush and Lal form the backbone of the film, and their relationship might remind you of the Paruthiveeran-Chevvazhai equation. Dhanush embodies the angry young man as Karnan and is always ready for a physical altercation. There is a lot of anger in his character, and Dhanush's credentials as an actor-star are established once again. 

Violence overdrive

While Karnan might seem to have an overdose of violence, it doesn’t seem out of place considering the fight is not for petty issues. It is for basic rights. We understand Mari Selvaraj sees no merit in bringing roses to a gunfight. 

The women of Karnan 

Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli as Dhanush’s sister doesn’t think twice before slapping the living daylights out of her brother. We have the feisty Rajisha Vijayan, in her Tamil debut, being the pursuer in her relationship with Karnan. However, it is also a masterclass in how someone can pursue without stalking. Gouri Kishan functions as the catalyst to get to the basic conflict of Karnan. They are all go-getters just like the other women of the village who exhibit a lot of spunk. Be it in voicing their opinions in the village panchayat to backing Karnan for standing up against the system, it is the women of Karnan who shoulder him till the end.

Length... an issue?

Yes, Mari Selvaraj takes his time to build up the world of Bodiyankulam, but I strongly believe it is okay because Karnan is not just about Dhanush, Lal, Rajisha Vijayan, Poo Ramu, Yogi Babu and other noticeable names. It is also about the bed-ridden paati, Gouri Kishan’s angry father, the young son who can’t see injustice, a horse, the pigs, the earthworms, the dogs, the cats, the trees, the thorny shrubs, a donkey, and even a few chickens. It is important that the time is taken to establish the structure that will have to stand against the systemic violence that happens to them.

Music and visuals

Santhosh Narayanan makes a case for why he is one of the most important music composers of our time. It is a stellar album, and the visual translation on screen makes the songs all the more special. Theni Eswar's cinematography is as strong a support as the music is for Karnan. 

Mari Selvaraj's political tool

Caste-based oppression has been the theme of both his films so far, and it is clear that Mari is definitely using his cinema as his political tool. He brilliantly establishes the dangers of our upholders of law and justice having caste pride. Through Karnan’s character, Mari poses questions that are already present in our society.

Basically, Karnan is a film where the actor and the star in Dhanush are as satisfied as the writer and director in Mari, and thanks to that, I was too.

Related Articles


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.


Which is your favourite time travel film in Tamil?

Indru Netru Naalai