Kaun? (transl. 'Who?') is a 1999 Indian psychological suspense thriller film directed by Ram Gopal Varma, written by Anurag Kashyap and starring Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh. It was shot in 15 days. It was made in Hindi and Telugu with the latter as Evaru? (transl. ‘Who?’)
|Directed by||Ram Gopal Verma|
|Written by||Anurag Kashyap|
|Produced by||Mukesh Udeshi|
|Music by||Sandeep Chowta|
Kshitij Production Combines
|Distributed by||Video Sound (Canada)|
Video Sound (USA)
On a gloomy night, a scared young woman (Urmila Matondkar) talks to her parents on the telephone, enquiring about when they will be back home. As she watches the news of a serial killer at large, the doorbell rings. The man outside identifies himself as Sameer Purnavale (Manoj Bajpai), claiming to be a business partner of the home owner, Mr. Malhotra. The woman is reluctant to open the door, due to the news of a killer on the loose. She says that the house doesn't belong to Mr. Malhotra, but instead to a Mr. Gupta. Believing that there has been a misunderstanding, Sameer persistently rings the doorbell even after the woman tells him that she won't let him in. To scare him away, the woman lies by saying that her husband is sleeping upstairs. Sameer says that he has indeed seen a man in the house, and requests to talk to him. Upon hearing this and a subsequent noise from within the house, the woman becomes scared and runs outside. Sameer then takes the woman back inside, reassuring her that he will protect her.
Due to a sudden power cut, the woman goes to the kitchen to look for candles, but instead finds her dead pet cat. Terrified, she runs to the door in a panic, only to find another man who is holding a gun. The man identifies himself as Inspector Qureshi (Sushant Singh) and calls the police station for help. Sameer and the woman are suspicious of Qureshi, and two men then get into a fight. During the struggle the woman gets hold of Qureshi's gun, forcing him to reveal that he is not actually a policeman, but a thief. The woman telephones her mother and asks her to contact the police.
Another struggle occurs, and Sameer gravely injures Qureshi, thinking that he is the serial killer. He picks up the telephone to call the police, however he finds that it is not working. Confused, he asks the woman to hide somewhere safe inside the house while he tries to fix the phone. The doorbell rings and Sameer answers. He calls out to the woman, saying that there was a man asking for Mr. Malhotra, but earlier she had insisted that the house belongs to Mr. Gupta. Bewildered, he searches for her in the attic, and stumbles upon a dead body, identifying it as that of Mr. Malhotra. The woman attacks him and they begin to struggle, until Sameer is suddenly stabbed by Qureshi, who believes that he is the killer. Whilst he checks on Sameer's body, the woman begins humming and stabs the thief to death.
The next day, the woman begins to remove the bodies, clean up the house, rearrange the furniture and proceeds to "talk" to her mother using the disconnected telephone, revealing her to be the serial killer. The doorbell rings and there is another man at the door, asking for Mr. Malhotra. The woman then turns to the audience and flashes an evil smile.
Anupama Chopra in her review for India Today stated, "Relentlessly experimental, he moved from the MTV love story Rangeela to the spoof-gone-poof Daud to the gritty underworld saga Satya without a pause. In Kaun, Varma takes a shot at an Ittefaq-style songless suspense thriller and almost pulls it off." Suparn Verma of Rediff said, "The film starts with a big scare that leaves you feeling silly and, slowly, as the momentum picks up, it draws you in. You prepare for the worst, and end up jumping at shadows. Though the climax is a little long-drawn and leaves you with some unanswered questions, it delivers the required punch."
Even after two decades of the release; Kaun is popular among movie fans who follow thriller-horror genre. The main element that makes this movie alive is the screenplay and characters of it, especially the one played by Urmila Matondkar.
- After Satya, director Ram Gopal Varma collaborated with writer Anurag Kashyap again for the screenplay and story of Kaun.
- There are many mysterious elements in the film which remain unsolved. For instance, the murderer of the cat is never known in the film which adds to its suspense even more. Additionally, it was never known how the woman was committing so many murders in an unknown house which belongs to some Mr. Malhotra. All of the mysteries raised great suspense to the overall film.
- During the original release in theaters and on television, there were titles that get displayed at the end of the film before the credits roll in. The titles throw some light on the woman's mysterious personality. But later, due to the policy changes in the censor board, the titles were removed from both television and home video releases. The film is now available with the edited version without the titles.
- Sahani, Alaka (6 June 2016). "Double Indemnity: What's common between Anurag Kashyap and Sriram Raghavan?". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- "Kaun 1999". Bollywoodhungama.com. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Chopra, Anupama (8 March 1999). "Eerie experience". India Today. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Verma, Suparna (26 February 1999). "Whodunnit?!". Rediff. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Chintamani, Gautam (30 November 2012). "Who Did the Whodunits?". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "Who's There — English (english version of Kaun?)". YouTube. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Kaun Movie (1999) Review - To The Point Reviews". Filmy Earth. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.