Everyone loves a good thriller. There is something about the unknown that keeps us hooked onto a story. The joy is not just in unpacking the mystery, but in guessing till the last moment, scurrying our way with suspense and finally getting to the ending which either validates our guesses or surprises us with a twist.
While Kannada cinema is dominated by either massy commercial entertainers or romantic comedies, the industry also has many thrillers that have managed to leave a mark. Here are 8 must-watch Kannada thrillers you can watch on Amazon Prime Video:
Kavaludaari follows a traffic cop Shyam (played by Rishi), who is interested in solving crime. He comes across a murder where the victims’ skeletal remains are unearthed during a road construction, one of which includes that of a child. Despite warnings from his higher-ups, he continues to investigate the murder on his own, only to find that the remains were forty years old. While he hits a roadblock, he bumps into various people who were directly or indirectly involved and continues to tread this path towards the discovery that the murder is a tiny part of a bigger conspiracy.
The thriller was director Hemanth Rao’s sophomore effort after the successful drama Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu. With amazing performances from Anant Nag as the ageing, alcoholic inspector, Rishi as the young and bright-eyed traffic cop and Achyuth Kumar as the broken reporter, Rao crafts a thriller that is not just about the murder, but also about ripples of a tragedy.
When bartender Vishnu comes across a dead body and informs the police, they falsely accuse him of the same murder and sentence him for life. A few years later, lawyer Mahesh Das and his team reopen the case to try to get him out of jail and find out the truth.
Starring MG Srinivas, who also directed the film, along with Rukmini Vasanth, Birbal is an effective whodunit that keeps throwing curveballs at you everytime you think you have figured out the case. The film has some of MG Srinivas’s signature touches. Relish the film if you’re in the mood for an engaging murder mystery. Sujay Shastry’s hilarious performance as Mahesh’s sidekick, definitely helps make our case.
The strict and rightful Seetharam Benoy is transferred to Anegadde Police Station in Shivamogga, where he is immediately greeted with hostility. His house is burgled and the officer is tasked with solving similar burglaries across the district. He soon finds a connection between the burglars and a murder case named 'Case No.18'. The rest of the film follows Benoy as he tries to solve the case.
Whodunits bank on atmosphere, misdirection and clues. Vijay Raghavendra delivers a stellar performance as a man trying to maintain power in an alien land.
The film follows Indira Rao, a rookie police officer who is tasked with checking out a case of suicide. What seems like an open-and-shut case initially begins to deeper and darker layers as Indira begins getting to the root of the mystery. The story then follows her struggle in continuing the investigation and unveiling the truth amidst opposition from authorities.
Director Gautham Iyer, in his debut, crafts an intriguing story about not just a murder, but of the transformation of Bangalore, a city that actually hides an underbelly of crime, power and politics.
Rachana (Shraddha Srinath) is a software engineer-turned-journalist who interns at a print news organisation. While pursuing a story on commuters who break rules to take a short u-turn on Bangalore' double road flyover, she witnesses a weird phenomenon. All the commuters who have taken that u turn have taken their lives on the day of the incident. Rachana becomes a suspect in one of the deaths and tries to investigate the strange events to prove her innocence.
Directed by Pawan Kumar of Lucia fame, this psychological thriller takes interesting routes within the whodunit format.
Three women who are exploited, assaulted and are tortured by the men in their lives, decide to take revenge. The film follows the lives of three prostitutes in a brothel and the tragic circumstances which put them there. This crime drama is held together by incredible performances by Sruthi Hariharan, Shraddha Srinath and Shwetha Pandit, along with an amazing Achyuth Kumar.
A ghost hunter/content creator decides to stay alone for a night in a haunted house to celebrate his 100th episode. While the entire city waits to hear his experience, he is found dead the next day. A police officer then investigates the house and tries to figure out the reason behind his death. This psychological thriller brings in elements of the supernatural, interspersing it with glimpses of the content creator’s life behind the camera.
Set during the demonitisation period in India, Maayabazar 2016 follows the lives of Kubera, Joseph and Raji, who rob corrupt politicians by posing as Income Tax officers. Things become complicated when one of the officers sets out to get his revenge. Packed with brilliant performers Achyuth Kumar, Prakash Raj, Raj B Shetty and Vashishta Simha, this heist film keeps you on the edge of your seat as you root for the underdog protagonists who just can't seem to escape complex situations.