Kavan Synopsis: A TV reporter rebels against the corrupt practices of his channel’s boss and tries to get justice for a couple of youngsters who are fighting against a chemical plant.
Kavan Review: An entertaining rant against the corporatisation of media that frequently stretches the limits of plausibility, Kavan manages to keep us engaged with its crowd-pleasing quality.
The story centres on Tilak (Vijay Sethupathi), an idealist, who becomes a reporter at Zen One TV channel. The channel’s boss, Kalyan (Skywalker) is more interested in generating revenue through sensationalism and strikes a deal with politician Dheeran Maniarasu (Bose Venkat), whose popularity has taken a nosedive following protests against his chemical plant. After Maniarasu’s men molest Kalpana (Darshana Rajendran), a young girl who spearheads these protests with her boyfriend Abdul (Vikranth Santhosh), Tilak does an exposé, but Kalyan decides to twist the story in favour of the politician. A furious Tilak quits his job and along with his friends in the channel, which includes his girlfriend Malar (Madonna Sebastian), teams up with Mayilvaganan (T Rajhendherr), the owner of a struggling channel, and tries to bring down Kalyan and Dheeran.
What works for Kavan is the topicality of its content. From protests by youngsters (against chemical industries) and ethics in covering rape victims to the sensationalism of TV (be it for a reality show or news), it has scenes that reflect events of the immediate past and strike a chord with us. Anand and his co-writers, Suba and Kabilan Vairamuthu, have a free run with these scenes and make them enjoyable, even though there is significant exaggeration. Given how things have been in our state for the past few months, some of this exaggeration does not feel far-fetched.
And Anand keeps the plot moving and ensures that film has momentum. There are some whistle-worthy lines, too. Sample this dig at Arnab: Kelvi dhaan mukkiyam-nu nenaikkaravan kathi kathi keppan; badhil dhaan mukkiyam-nu nenaikkaravan medhuva keppan. His actors, too, rise up to the task and pitch in with affable performances. There is an earnestness that Vijay Sethupathi projects which helps us believe in Tilak and his intentions. T Rajhendherr, whose casting created the most buzz for the film, is somewhat restrained, though he gets to unleash his TR-isms in a couple of scenes (one of them even has him acting out Sivaji Ganesan’s epic dialogue from Veerapandiya Kattabomman!).
That said, Kavan is more a meme than a movie. It does take a dig at current issues in an amusing manner, but it isn’t satire with sting. The film throws around new-age jargons like embedded journalism, media terrorism, corporate politics and narrative-driven news to make us think it is saying something important, but scratch the surface and you realise that there is hardly any depth. And, it entirely misses the irony of using the very sensationalistic devices it accuses the media of using in its pursuit of being a commercial entertainer.