Urmila Matondkar-Manoj Bajpayee starrer ‘Kaun’ was one of Ram Gopal Varma’s best – Times of India

Kaun released on February 26, 1999 and remarkably it was completed in 19 days.It seemed to be inspired by Yash Chopra’s Ittefaq. But…Ram Gopal Varma had not even seen Ittefaq! And Ittefaq’s murderess Nanda was a far cry (bloody shrill!) from Kaun’s Urmila Matondkar.

It was Kaun where director Ram Gopal Varma seemed to have the optimum fun scaring the yell out of us, as a young seemingly hapless girl all alone in a house, defends herself against a serial killer.

The unknown assailant hovered around like an angry ghost. Of course the premise of a victim on the prowl is turned upside at the end. While this whodunit lasts Varma has a whale of a time letting his camera peer under the bed, over the shoulder, as though someone is constantly watching Urmila Matondkar as she goes from fear to apprehension.
Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh (not Rajput) as intruders were sensationally creepy. A pity, Sushant couldn’t make any headway.

This was an absolute knock-out of a thriller. And Urmila admits she gets scared watching herself in Kaun even now. She says, “The character is so twisted. I had to dig really deep into myself to find that nameless girl. Who is she? Why is she the way she is?”

Ram Gopal Varma says he wanted to do something completely different from Rangeela with Urmila. He reveals, “The idea was to create the scares in the big house. After Kaun, people were scared to look under their beds.”

Kaun was only 97 minutes in length, and no interval. This was most unusual for those times when audiences had all the time in the world.

24 years after its release Kaun has acquired a cult status for its tight editing and rippling writing by Anurag Kashyap. Sad that Varma and Kashyap fell apart soon after Kaun.

Kaun jaane what (black) magic they would have created had they not gone their separate ways.

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