Kanithan review: Fantastic plot enslaved by a silly script

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2016 10:55 IST
Kanithan is about one guy fighting a system that manifests itself, in this case, as the racket involving fake degrees. (KanithanMovie/Facebook)


Director: TN Santosh

Cast: Atharvaa, Catherine Tresa, Tarun Arora

Rating: 1/5

An absolutely new subject smashed to smithereens by a silly script is what TN Santosh’s debut feature, Kanithan, turns out to be. In line with Tamil cinema’s guts to give us plot surprise after plot surprise, the film is a scathing critique of a system which shelters and supports those manufacturing fake degrees. These are so widespread that India has -- or so Kanithan implies -- doctors, lawyers, engineers and IT guys who should never have been holding the posts they do. The result is scary: patients die on the operating table, buildings collapse and justice eludes the innocent.

And this is precisely what happens to Atharvaa’s Gautam. As he sits sipping a cold drink with his new girlfriend, Anu (Catherine Tresa), policemen descend on him, arrest him and beat him up black and blue. His crime? He is supposed to have taken a huge education loan that he is completely unaware of. Obviously, the loan has gone to another guy, a fictitious Gautam - who has escaped from the country, and obviously enjoying the money.

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The kingpin of this racket is Thora Sarkar, played by Tarun Arora, who controls a multi-million business of selling fake university degrees that help the corrupt, the unqualified and the duds find plum jobs or secure bank loans for overseas education. And then we all know how the narrative will play out. Gautam takes on the system, takes on the villain and blows out (but, of course) the ring of deceit.

Watch Atharvaa-starrer Kanithan trailer here:

I have seen this kind of superman ever since I began watching movies. The early Raj Kapoor playing out Nehruvian ideals. A little later, there was MG Ramachandran (who went on to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) essaying the noble samaritan, being a friend of the poor and the downtrodden and helping them fight powerful landlords or arrogantly rich men -- and, in the bargain, propagating Dravidian political ideology. Much later, there was this Gabbar is Back, where Akshay Kumar demolishes a debased system singlehandedly -- a Phantom minus the trademark suit who is never seen!

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Such superman dramas are so jaded now that they begin to seem shallow, and the script in Kanithan becomes a slave to this idea -- that the hero must be so heroic that he cannot falter or fail. And when Santosh said in a media interview that he had made every effort to keep the script “real”, he could not have been farthest from truth. The script, in fact, goes beyond even the make-believe.

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Superman dramas are so jaded now that they begin to seem shallow, and the script in Kanithan becomes a slave to this idea. (KanithanMovie/Facebook)

There are so many scenes in Kanithan that are crazy to the core. Look, for instance, the events inside the office of Sky TV. I am sure not one professional working for a television channel can relate to them. Finally, watch the confrontation between Gautam and the gang of goons. These are well beyond even the realm of imagination. More like a computer-animated game in which the villain is vanquished in a series of magical moves!

Like so many Tamil films, Kanithan begins with a fantastic idea and story, but Santosh lets these spin out of control -- till the script sinks beyond salvation.

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