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Kanithan Review: Tedious Thriller


TN Santhosh’s Kanithan begins on a silly note. Gautham (Atharvaa Murali), a cub reporter, is at a high-end pub with his colleague. They are in the middle of a sting operation. A hidden camera has been placed inside a keychain. Out of nowhere, a girl picks up the keychain, not realising there’s a camera on it. First the camera fixates on her chest. Then slowly moves to her lips, and stays there. Gautham can’t stop staring. Ordinarily, this would qualify him as a pervert. Here, of course, it’s ‘louv at first sight’. He is the hero after all. Plus, he’s handsome. Meanwhile, the unattractive sidekick does what he was hired to do – crack a few drab jokes. A sample: the girl orders a tequila, and he orders a ‘Shakila’. Because, “Don’t both serve the same purpose?”


kanithan-movie-stills-013This is 26-year-old Atharvaa’s first full-fledged action-thriller. TN Santhosh, a former assistant to AR Murugadoss, has tried to pull off something along the lines of the latter’s ThuppakkiThuppakki was an ode to army professionals, and Kanithan attempts to glorify journalism. In fact, one scene was so similar that the audience cried out, “Thuppakki, Thuppakki!”

Gautham is an engineering graduate who works in a small private TV channel called Sky TV, headed by Mano Bala. Gautham seems to have inherited his father’s unfulfilled dream of becoming a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) reporter. His father, Aadukalam Narein, plays a Doordarshan news presenter. Anu (Catherine Tresa) claims to have done a journalism course from the USA. BBC is her dream destination as well. Barring the villains, everyone in the film seems to think that the BBC is the epitome of journalism. The first half of the film is essentially a tribute to the BBC.


Things finally get on track when the villains enter. A powerful crime network forges degree certificates and uses them to obtain education loans from banks. A clueless Gautham, along with five other men, is wrongly arrested. When he realises that all the evidence is against him, the young reporter decides to investigate on his own and prove his innocence.

A cat-and-mouse game between the hero and the villain ensues. In parts, it works. What doesn’t work is the film’s portrayal of the young hero, determined to bring the gigantic villains to heel. Gautham isn’t your regular TV reporter. He’s a Sherlock Holmes in waiting. At his BBC interview, he is asked to ‘think like an investigative reporter’ and solve a murder case. He does it in less than a minute. He is also an action hero who can chase a speeding Maruthi van on foot.

In one scene, he storms into a room where the villains have tied up his friend (Karunakaran). He beats up goons twice his size, and kills the chief. Then, a relieved Karunakaran asks, “Sarakkadikkalaama? (Shall we go for a drink?)” and the duo laugh. There’s neither shock nor nervousness. Assault and murder are everyday matters for these middle-class youngsters.


This poorly-written role has Atharvaa Murali faltering. His pretty nose is perennially flared. He spends his time gazing angrily, mouth clenched. Once in a while, a smug smile flashes on his face. Done. Catherine Tresa plays the typical bubble-headed heroine. She flirts with the hero, makes puppy faces, shows some skin in two song sequences, sheds some tears, and leaves. Done. The only actor who makes any impact is Karunakaran, whose deadpan delivery frequently cracks up the audience.


Kanithan is ambitious in scope, and inept in execution. The film wants to showcase several important issues, like the dire state of educational institutions in the country, and the role of the media. But it all falls flat, because there isn’t a moment in Kanithan that makes you forget you’re watching a typical Tamil potboiler. Every scene lacks originality and craft. At the centre of this is a young hero, hamming it up in his efforts at becoming a mass action hero. Not a pretty sight.


The Kanithan review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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