KO (Eng: King) is a 2011 Indian Tamil political thriller film directed by K. V. Anand, starring Jiiva, Ajmal Ameer, Karthika Nair and Piaa Bajpai. The film was released on 22 April 2011 to mostly positive reviews, and was dubbed into Telugu as Rangam as well. This movie was a blockbuster and had 175 days theatrical run. A sequel to the film released on 13 May 2016 with a different crew and cast titled as Ko 2 directed by Sarath, Co-Director of Billa 2 And Unnaipol Oruvan. The film was remade in Bengali in 2013 as Kanamachi. KO’s plot outline is inspired from the 2009 film State of Play Based on an online poll conducted by The Times of India, it won the Best Film Award for 2011.
Ashwin Kumar (Jiiva) is a photojournalist working for the private newspaper Dina Anjal. He witnesses Naxalites robbing a local bank. He chases them and manages to click photos of the robbers. When he tries to escape, he is stopped by a young woman Renuka ‘Renu’ (Karthika Nair) who assumes he is the culprit and helps the robbers to take his camera. However, he is able to secure the memory card of the camera. The police catch him, and to prove that he is a press photographer, he shows the photos to them, who identify everyone except the gang leader (whose face is covered by a mask). At his office, he again meets Renuka, who has newly joined as Article Editor. Saraswathi ‘Saro’ (Piaa Bajpai) also works in his office and has feelings for Ashwin, who does not reciprocate.
Settled in her new job, Renuka writes a cover story about a politician Aalavandhan (Kota Srinivasa Rao), describing his attempt to marry a minor. Enraged by this, Aalavandhan barges into the newspaper office and shouts at Renuka. The audio recording of her interview disappears (courtesy Aalavandhan), and she is fired from her job for falsified reporting. Ashwin later risks his life to capture the pictures of Aalavandhan who actually engages in child marriage in a temple at midnight. Later the story with the photos is printed in their newspaper and this makes Renuka to fall in love with Ashwin, which the latter reciprocates. Saro is initially jealous of the love between Ashwin and Renuka, but later accepts it and gets over Ashwin.
Meanwhile, Vasanthan Perumal (Ajmal Ameer), a recent graduate and engineer who is Ashwin’s former college mate, strives hard to enter the politics by contesting the upcoming election. He is contesting against more experienced politicians who capture the people by giving freebies and money. No one cares about Vasanthan and his team of graduates, who promise a healthy government to people. Their party name is ‘Siragugal’ (feathers). Ashwin and Renuka find out about Vasanthan’s election campaign, and they and the entire Dina Anjal team extend their support to the campaign, covering it extensively, much to the chagrin of Aalavandhan and the Chief Minister Yogeswaran ‘Yogi’ (Prakash Raj).
One night, Vasanthan’s party organises an election campaign meeting. Ashwin, photographing the event, receives a text message from Saro that states there is a bomb underneath the stage where Vasanthan is speaking. Ashwin manages to save Vasanthan just before the bomb explodes. Later, Ashwin finds Saro fatally wounded near the blast site. Saro struggles to tell something to Ashwin and Renuka before she dies. Ashwin, through a video clip recorded by another photographer, finds out that Saro was intentionally killed by someone. He later notices a resemblance between the leader of the bank robbery and this unknown killer, concluding that the Naxalite leader killed Saro.
A few days later, Renuka notices that Vasanthan’s photo in their newspaper was cut from a college class photo, where Ashwin is also present. Confronted by Renuka, Ashwin tells her that he and Vasanthan studied in the same college and were best friends. He also tells her that he is happy for Vasanthan’s success and is wholeheartedly supporting his election campaign.
In the election, Vasanthan’s party wins by a huge majority and Vasanthan becomes the Chief Minister. He orders the release of 20 naxals on Republic Day, citing humanity. Shocked on hearing this news, Ashwin rushes to the secretariat to meet Vasanthan. In Vasanthan’s office, Ashwin notices that the Naxalite leader who killed Saro is there, talking with Vasanthan. Ashwin airs his grievances to Vasanthan, who ignores him. Ashwin then follows the leader to his hideout. At the same time, Vasanthan orders the Tamil Nadu Police to go kill the Naxals at their hideout and the Police Commandos surround the perimeter of that place. Ashwin, already at the hideout, confronts the Naxalite leader, whose name is Kadhir (Bose Venkat) and finds out from him that Vasanthan had made a deal with the Naxalites to help him win the election. They orchestrated events such as the burning of a hut and saving the woman in that hut (who was also a Naxalite) in order to win people’s sympathy. In the same vein, they had planted a bomb on the stage where Vasanthan was speaking during his meeting. Saro had found out the truth about Vasanthan, but was fatally assaulted by him so that she does not reveal his character and intentions to anybody. Ashwin realises that Saro had tried to warn him and Renuka about Vasanthan’s true character before dying and also that now Vasanthan is double-crossing the Naxalites and is planning to kill them as a show of achievement. Ashwin records this confession using his mobile phone camera and sends it to Renuka, who plans to publish this story in their newspaper. Vasanthan then arrives and kills Kadhir. He also tries to kill Ashwin. However, Ashwin triggers a Land mine there which explodes, killing Vasanthan, while Ashwin manages to escape.
Vasanthan’s party members arrive at the hideout on hearing the news that Vasanthan had died. Seeing their innocence, Ashwin forces Renuka not to reveal the truth about Vasanthan because his party members would get into serious trouble and lose their seats just for supporting Vasanthan. They did not know about Vasanthan’s true character and intentions and supported him, believing his false claims of a “healthy government”. Instead, Renuka publishes an article saying that Vasanthan had sacrificed his life fighting the Naxalites and died as a martyr. Ashwin and Renuka submit their resignations to the Chief Editor for falsified reporting, but he rejects their resignations and tells them to cover the upcoming election.
Directed by K.V. Anand
Produced by Elred Kumar & Jayaraman
Written by Subha (Dialogue)
Screenplay by K. V. Anand & Subha
Story by K. V. Anand & Subha
Starring Jiiva, Ajmal Ameer, Karthika Nair, Piaa Bajpai, Prakash Raj
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Cinematography Richard M. Nathan
Edited by Anthony
Production R. S. Infotainment
Distributed by Red Giant Movies
Release dates 22 April 2011
Running time 165 minutes