Kavalthurai Ungal Nanban (2021) Movie Review: The System and the Common Man

Kavalthurai Ungal Nanban (KUN) has been making some noise since it was released and it is presented by one of India’s best directors, Vetrimaaran I was waiting for the film to stream on OTT. The film is now streaming on Zee5. 

Tamil cinema is currently experiencing exciting times, they have their big-budget event films but also small budget films like KUN which gets a theatrical release. The film begins with a man in pain and lying on a chair. The film move backs in time when we see a food delivery boy delivering food to a lady who is lying to her husband that she has cooked for him. I wish moral lessons were left at school but then Tamil directors are in no mood to do that. Then we get a filler song with husband and wife.

The story moves forward when the wife is mugged and molested. The problem arises when on his way to lodge a complaint the cops stop the husband (Suresh Ravi). If you live in India you know that the cops have a lot of free time to harass common people. Go anywhere, if you are on a bike, even if you have not broken any rule the cops will stop you and ask for the papers, a phenomenon that does not happen in the western world. 

This is a beautiful scene where the hero is pissed off at first, then comes to the realities of the powerplay, and then eventually is forced to react against the system. Things go awry for him, where he is taken into custody like countless Indians and unaccounted for, later is subjected to the third degree. 

Herein lies a twist, we do not see any friends coming to help, we don’t see characters running for justice. It is a cat and mouse game with a low-level inspector and common man where the common man does not even think to retaliate or even ask justice for the injustice meted out to him, all he wants is to get out of the cruel system and not be crushed. 

The film is closer to reality to many Indians who have crossed their path with police knowingly or unknowingly, in fact when the lockdown was announced across the globe last year it was only in democratic India where police were seen beating guest workers, poor people, and harassing small vendors. 

In India on an average 5 people died daily due to police torture, the cops wield too much power in a corrupt system. KUN tells a story of invisible Indians, but it is nowhere near Visaaranai which tackled the same subject. in a better manner, here the movie flatters due to the performances of the the lead actors, they are complete failures and do not deliver at all. Despite this, it makes for an engaging watch and also raises the important question- can a common man take on a system, but we all know the answer, the cog cannot be the wheel. 

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