Karnan- Sins of our Fathers

A Review

Set in the 90’s Karnan deals with the marginalized communities daily struggle for livelihood. Karnan lives in a village of few hundreds’ where there is no bus stop and people go to the next town to catch a bus. In the village being oppressed had become a habit. When oppression is the only constant, revolt can be the only change. Revolt- that’s the only option left when you push people too far. In a scene a person says why beat and make them angry instead let them come in front of us-stand with their hands folded, heads down. Making them ask for their rights.

In one scene during a military selection drill hundreds of men run to complete a distance in a stipulated time. Danush completes, but there are many others who are left behind. I have seen such selection processes. Men come from various parts and travel long distances. Some sell the last gram of gold they have, others sell the utensils of their house. Karnan tells the story of these women and men who are struggling to cross the line for a better tomorrow, but are unable to.

We live in a civilization were humans have been divided based on caste and creed. Discrimination in every strata of society is evident. Poverty is inherited from generation to generation. So many dreams shattered, died a slow death because opportunities were reserved for few.  When someone tries to break free they are persecuted. Offense is taken if a peasant has a king’s name. ‘Who named you duryodhana?’ a police man asks a villager. In a way showing them their place in the scheme of things.  For how long do you want to live like vermins- Danush asks the villagers’. Silence is resilience for the elders of the village. They have stopped fighting or probably never did, for mutiny will being bring the entire village on harms’ way.

In his second film mari selvarj chooses, compared to his first film- the all bets are off approach. Here tyranny is met with resistance. These are people living on the bylanes always pushed around never given much heed. This is in a way- a david Vs goliath  tale. Goliath being our deep rooted prejudices.

If a guy who never gets what he wants had a face- it would be of Dhanush ( adukkalam, asuran, vada Chennai) The actor shelves his stardom to deliver a performance that will stay with you. When he explodes in a police station it is a sight to behold. The anger is palpable. Lal with his physical presence and strong baritone is credible. Karnan’s sister played by lakshi priya is well written and performed and stands tall with the danush character.

Karnan shows us the mirror. Shows us the sins of our fathers. The atrocities we commit to our own kind. The donkey that is chained, the cat that eats left overs, look at us with empathy, for we have let down our own.

Kala Movie Review

On Prime Video

In the opening scenes of kala shaji(tovino.T) drinks this son’s milk-when his son starts crying he tells ‘boys don’t cry if you had wanted it you should have fought me’. A lesson in masculinity and patriarchy shoved down from one generation to another. Kala is director rohith’s and writer Yedhu’s take on privilege and the human psyche.

The movie is prominently centered around shaji and sameer’s character( named in the film as ‘ The boy). Shaji, born to entitlement has a strained relationship with his father-always ready to please and constantly failing. They have a dog blackie a forigen breed, rich looking but always chained and caged like shaji. sumesh is a free spirited young man living in the bylanes of society devoid of materialistic pleasures but happy. He too has a dog indian- breed named bau not caged or chained. Free. An act of brutality pits shaji against sumesh’s character seeking revenge.

During a fight scene shaji asks’ the boy’ ‘from where did you get this courage. In a way trying to show him his place and not realizing that you should always fear a person who has nothing to lose. The movie is far from just an action film. It is a story of fight between the privileged and oppressed both physical and mental.

Tovino with his brute force and physical presence has given a credible performance Same goes for sumesh who stands toe-to-toe against tovino. The action scenes are real, carefully planned and shot to give a feel of unpredictability. The movie has the best hand to hand combat scenes in recent memory. Music by Dwan.v is evocative of dread and horror and is extremely slick. Camera work by Akhil. G captures nature and human in its most primitive form.

When the movie was over i was thinking what if there was a fight between blackie and bau. One, a muscular foriegn breed, the other and indian breed. I guess, the one having the will to fight till the end and has nothing to lose will win.