The film talks about a young journalist (Atharvaa) who takes on the fake documents mafia, after being framed along with few other youngsters. He experiences a tough time with the cops before getting to the root cause of the problem and plotting his way back. The gang basically produces fake documents, based on original documents belonging to proper individuals, and delivers them to those who are in need of a shortcut to a good living. They also use these fake documents to avail loans from banks. These guys use fool-proof technology to go about their business and earn fat sums of money. While those who make use of these fake certificates settle down with jobs across various departments, many deserving youngsters don't get their due.
The good thing with Kanithan is that the hero and lead villain are equally matched and it is as much a battle of brain as brawn. Director Santhosh shows good attention to detail in the scenes when we are shown the modus operandi of the fake documents mafia and the characteristics of an authentic degree certificate. His screenplay pattern and structuring reminds us of his guru A.R.Murugadoss, particularly from Thuppakki.
The film takes about 35 minutes to get going, as the initial part is devoted to showing Atharvaa's family, his job, aspirations to get into BBC, romance with his boss' daughter (Catherine Tresa) and a couple of songs. After this lackluster beginning, the film cruises ahead for the next hour or so. In the second half, it again dips a bit during a birthday party sequence followed by a song.
Except 'Yappa Chappa', the rest of Sivamani's songs don't make a mark. Chinna has scored the background music and it is generally on the loud side. The jarring 'Che Guevara' number is used in the climax when there is a nail biting race between the hero and baddie as to who emerges on top. Experienced DoP Arvind Krishna gives the necessary fillip to the action sequences with his lighting and engaging movements.
Atharvaa shows good energy and agility, and he aces the stunt sequences, while also looking smart as the ambitious reporter. Catherine Tresa oozes glamour and she is mostly there in some of the film's filler moments as the 'eye candy'. The lead villain Tarun Arora has a commanding screen presence and his characterization might remind you of Vidyut from Thuppakki. Karunakaran as a lawyer, Bhagyaraj as a cop and Sunder Ramu as the hero's friend play good supporting parts, standing alongside Atharvaa in his fight.
Had the film eschewed some needless song sequences and dispensable scenes, it would have been crisper and could have soared higher. Still, Kanithan is a smart commercial action thriller which has an intriguing core idea about fake documents and a gripping middle stretch. Debut director TN Santhosh shows promise and Atharvaa marches a few steps ahead.