Star Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Shine Tom Chacko, Sobhita Dhulipala, Indrajith Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas, Maya Menon, Vijaykumar Prabhakaran
Director: Srinath Rajendran
What’s Good: The enigmatic transformation of Dulquer Salmaan through every era, the mood-setting background score
What’s Bad: It designs a chase which for most of the parts can be predicted from miles away
Loo Break: Just one answer. 157 minutes.
Watch or Not?: If you want to watch it for Dulquer Salmaan, you can, if you want to watch it for Kurup, I’d suggest reading some good novels to get everything from start to end
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 157 minutes
Panning from the 60s to late 80s, the narrative’s outline is sketched as a life story of a notorious criminal Sudhakar Kurup (Dulquer Salmaan) who fakes his death for a hefty amount of insurance money. Though this is just the blueprint of Kurup’s story, the real deal lies in what all led him to be the greedy maniac he was becoming.
It starts from fooling the parents, continues with tricking his colleagues at the Indian Air Force leading to a plan to dupe the judiciary system of the country by faking his death (more than once). This is the story of a man on a run for over 37 years now. Those who know, know how one day he decided to fade away from the limelight he craved for only to never get caught. This film touches on the major recorded incidents of his life climaxing on an expected note.
Kurup Movie Review: Script Analysis
Story and script, penned by Jithin. K. Jose, K.S.Aravind and Daniell Sayooj Nair have few-but-major issues with the way it’s presented. Just to clarify in the start, I wasn’t aware of Sukumar Kurup before this and it’s been an entire evening reading about him to understand why this may not be a perfect blend for a film based on his life actually needed. For those who are wondering if Kurup is glorified, he isn’t but there’s a visible constant effort of showcasing him as a hero with the help of an equally stylized background score as his exotic & elegant clothes.
There’s a disclaimer in the start trying to draw a distinctive line between the real & reel perspective. But, that’s not the case because apart from changed names and a sub-plot in the climax, the story pretty much aligns with the real-life incidents. Unfortunately, even this one falls in the trap to face the cliches of ‘biopic filmmaking’ of the Indian film industry. Despite having a couple of extremely strong characters, the story keeps bouncing back to Kurup because, of course, it’s his story and its history.
The investigating officer in Kurup’s case Krishnadas (originally named Haridas) invested years of his life to catch him but failed every single time. Haridas’ wife in an interview once told, “He would have a packed bag ready all the time. When the call comes, he would rush off. I have worried for him so many times.” Makers of Kurup come nowhere close to registering the epic disappointment of Haridas (Krishnadas in the film), which would’ve been a strong emotional connection.
Another underutilized character is the random person who was murdered by Kurup’s aides, Charlie (originally named Chacko) and the rage his family went through for years remains unexplored. Chacko’s son had made a statement in an interview after his mother publically forgave Kurup and said, “My mother may have forgiven Kurup, but I will not.” Now, imagine this coming from a well-developed character while you simultaneously address the wrongdoings of your leading guy.
Four undercover policemen stayed in the neighbourhood of Kurup’s house for eight years (for real) just to catch a glimpse of him but they failed, and this is not a part of the film. Though Nimish Ravi’s cinematography color-accurately captures the vintage Mumbai (Bombay back then), Persia, and even Bhopal, the production design gets a tad bit louder than it should be. Everything is a little bit extra neat and clean (even the things which aren’t supposed to be), from shiny jeeps to beaming chairs and spotless canteen doors. Not that I want things to be unhygienic, but let’s accept we all have seen the warning of ‘no spitting’ on walls covered with paan-stains.
Kurup Movie Review: Star Performance
Dulquer Salmaan (DQ) had to be the best thing in the film, and to a certain extent, he is. One area he falters (and it’s not completely even his fault) is blessing the character with heroic charm while designing sequences to amass some ‘seetis’ from the viewers. If I would’ve known about Sukumar Kurup and things that conspired around Chacko’s murder, I had wanted to end up hating Salmaan‘s character by the end which I didn’t.
The movie, in fact, ends at the villainous smile of DQ pointing towards the fact that how he would easily slip through the final trap continuing his run from the system. Apart from these character & script flaws, he adequately fits under the skin of Kurup nailing way too many facial-hair updates.
Sorry DQ fans, but Shine Tom Chacko shines bright emerging as the movie’s best performer (Pillai) for me. Not only because his character carried this extra rage in him giving it a commendable scope to act, but also how he had every chance to go overboard but he takes none of them.
Sobhita Dhulipala gets to drive the story for a considerable part in the first half with her perspective. From standing up to Kurup’s demands to standing with him fulfilling his crazy demands, Sobhita’s Saradamma, despite a solid performance fails to create the desired impact. Indrajith Sukumaran as DYSP Krishnadas is for the above-mentioned reasons not at what one would expect this character to be. He’s good in the limited scenes he’s part of but he could’ve been oh-so-better.
Kurup Movie Review: Direction, Music
Srinath Rajendran is torn between making two films, one to please the ‘ready to trash the biopics’ enthusiasts like me and the rest others are DQ fans. He cannot go all ‘Rajinikanth’ with Kurup’s character for obvious reasons but he tumbles while feeding some dough to the fans of the actor. With a better script, Rajendran could easily score a Malayalam classic to his name.
Sushin Shyam’s background score adds more life to the scenes than everything else happening in it. It orchestrates & steers many sequences.
Kurup Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, if not based on real-life events, this is a respectable attempt. The problem comes attached with the ‘biopic’ tag & this one doesn’t do anything special to solve them.
Two and a half stars!
Kurup releases on 12th November, 2021
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