Maari Selvaraj directed the movie Karnan which is an excellent piece of art yet reachable to the common man.
This is loosely based on the Kodiyankulam incident in 1995 when police launched a brutal assault on a Devendrakula Velalar ( A Scheduled Caste) village near Tirunelveli.
Mari Selvaraj kept the metaphors in the movie, which made us to feel mysticism in the movie and these metaphors make this movie interesting to watch even after 20 to 30 years.
As said the story revolves around a village of a scheduled caste people, who are oppressed and the story is set up in 1997. There is no bus stop for that village. The village people keeps the number of the petition but, no one makes the required arrangement. The village in the story is Kodiyankulam.
At the beginning of the story, the protagonist, Karnan’s sister dies due to epilepsy on the road, but no vehicle stops to rescue her, because they know that, the village is of an oppressed community.
The director used the metaphor of the protagonist’s sister as she becomes a deity. She looks at the oppressed community who do not fight for their rights. When the struggle begins to get the dignity, she starts clapping with joy, and it is represented as she has been waiting for justice. She with the mask of the deity can be seen throughout the movie.
Young Karnan leads the fight and motivates the villagers to fight against the oppression and the symbol of oppression, “Bus” is damaged by the villagers under the leadership of Karnan.
When the father of the protagonist gives the sword to fight against the injustice, she appears and claps. The song “Uttradhinga Yammo uttradhinga Yappov” lyrics say to come out of fears and fight against injustice. In the same song, we can see many godly girls, by this, it is understandable that many have passed away due to the same oppression.
In the movie, many metaphors can be seen and in the story, all the villagers have the names of Mahabharath. The protagonist’s name is Karnan and there is the village head whose name is Duryodhana. The Mahabharath reference could be made to show that, this is another Mahabharath war for equality and dignity. In this story, the female lead, the girlfriend of Karnan’s name is Droupadhi Another important character name is Yaman.
We can see the three generations, one generation which bears the oppression and another generation, which fights and the third generation, which doesn’t see the struggle but enjoys the equality. A pregnant lady gives birth during the fight and Yaman immolates himself for their dignity.
Eagle, Chicks, Horse, Donkey, Butter Fly, and pigs are also used as metaphorical reference. The music adds thrill to the movie.
Undoubtedly Dhanush story selection and his action should be appreciated. All the other actors like Yogi Babu, Lal as Yaman action is excellent. GM Kumar as Dhuryodhana also acted in the given scope. As an antagonist, Natrajan Subrahmanyan did a commendable job. Rajsha Vijayan as a female lead and Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli acted well. This is a rare combination with multiple talented actors in the movie.
Santhosh Narayanan’s music is also very good.
The movie is available on Amazon Prime, which is worth to watch.