|Directed by||Ram Gopal Verma|
|Produced by||Mukesh Udeshi|
|Written by||Anurag Kashyap|
|Music by||Sandeep Chowta|
|Distributed by||Video Sound (Canada)|
Video Sound (USA)
Kaun? (English: Who?) is a 1999 Indian psychological thriller film directed by Ram Gopal Verma, written by Anurag Kashyap and starring Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh. It was shot in 15 days.
A young woman (Urmila Matondkar), home alone, is watching the news of a serial killer on television when the doorbell rings. The woman sees through the peephole that it is a young man, who later identifies himself as Sameer A. Purnavale (Manoj Bajpai), claiming to be a business partner of Mr. Malhotra. She is reluctant to open the door, due to the news of a killer on the loose. The woman claims that the house doesn't belong to Mr. Malhotra, but to Mr. Gupta. However, the man believing that there has been a mix up, persistently keeps ringing the doorbell even after the woman tells him that she won't let him in. To scare him away, the woman lies and tells the man that her husband is sleeping upstairs. The man then claims that he hears a noise upstairs so that if her husband is awake can he talk to him. Upon hearing this and a subsequent noise from within the house, the woman is spooked and runs outside. Purnavale then takes the woman back inside, reassuring her that he is protecting her.
When no one is found, she asks him to leave, and opens the door, only to find another man with a gun, who later identifies himself as Inspector Qureshi (Sushant Singh). The two doubt his credentials, and Qureshi phones the police station and calls for help. The two men then get into a fight, and during the struggle the woman gets hold of Qureshi's gun, and asks them to sit quietly. It is then revealed that the man claiming to be Inspector Qureshi is in fact a thief. The woman telephones her mother and asks her to contact the police.
Sameer tries to kill Qureshi, thinking that he is the serial killer and then uses the telephone to call the police, however he finds that the phone is not working. He is unable to understand what is happening and asks the woman to hide somewhere safe inside the house while trying to figure out a solution to the problem. The doorbell rings and Purnavale answers. He starts looking around for the woman, calling out to her that there was a man asking for Mr. Malhotra and is confused because the woman claimed when they met that the house belongs to Mr. Gupta. Whilst searching for her in the attic, Sameer stumbles upon a dead body and identifies it as that of Mr. Malhotra. Sameer panics and when he looks around the woman attacks him and in self-defense he tries to kill her. In this confusion, the thief who is mortally wounded stabs Sameer to death to save the woman, assuming that Sameer was the killer. Whilst the thief checks on Sameer's body, the woman begins humming and stabs the thief to death.
At the end of the movie it is established that the woman is mentally ill and is in fact the serial killer on the loose, as she cleans up the bodies and rearranges the furniture and proceeds to talk to her mother using the disconnected telephone. Before the credits it is shown there is another man at the door asking for Mr. Malhotra, she then turns to the camera and smiles devilishly.
- Urmila Matondkar as Ma'am
- Manoj Bajpayee as Sameer A. Purnavale
- Sushant Singh as Inspector Qureshi / Thief
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."
The film became an above average grosser at box office. According to the Hindustan Times, Kaun enjoys a near cult status today. An English version of the film Who's There was released online in 2014.
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 Manoj Bajpayee.
- 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 to audiences whether it was Manoj's or Sushant's character that was the serial killer out on the loose. And lastly, 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 2016-05-28.
- "Kaun Movie (1999) Review - To The Point Reviews". Filmy Earth. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-03-20.