Kurup (2021) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen

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‘Kurup’ does get bogged down considerably by the endless trivia that lie strewn all along the narrative. The extra final explorations that it indulges in sound hollow, and while it remains an anodyne watch, there is hardly anything more that is offered.


Srinath Rajendran’s ‘Kurup’ indulges in a wild goose chase, quite living up to the disrepute of its much wanted protagonist, who has edged his way into Indian crime history with his infamous expertise at dodging arrest. The film, that adopts a non-linear narrative pattern is more of a filmic compromise than anything else, and does justice to none of the characters involved.

For one, there is the initial disclaimer that states once and for all, that the film has nothing to do with anyone living or dead, and while it remains customary in most films, in ‘Kurup, it sounds like a statement appealing for an anticipatory bail. For viewers, who had walked in to see Rajendran’s version of the cold blooded murder that rocked the state way back in 1984, this is also a moment of sheer disappointment.

It also makes it amply clear at this point, that its not a documentary and that the script would exercise cinematic liberty when it comes to the depiction of the real life events that it is apparently inspired from. This also means that the compelling material that several of us are acquainted with through media reports spanning a couple of decades has undergone a fabrication, which is at once good news and bad news.

‘Kurup’ starts off with the retirement of DYSP Krishnadas (Indrajith) – the police officer who had investigated the murder of Charlie, a young man who was strangled to death and later burned along with a car near Cheriyanadu in Kerala, in an attempt to impersonate Kurup (Dulqer Salmaan), an expatriate who is on a visit to his hometown, and thereby claim his insurance money.

The film does dwell quite a lot on Kurup’s initial escapades that includes his brief stint at the Indian Air Force, his falling in love with Saradamma (Sobitha Dhulipala) in Mumbai, his life in the Gulf and his eventual return back to Kerala. These even include a rockstar stage performance by Kurup and a romantic interlude that portrays him as a courtly gentleman for whom life has other plans.

Kurup’s accomplices in the murder plan, were Bhasi Pillai (Shine tom Chacko), Ponnachan (Vijaykumar Prabhakaran) and Shabu (Shivajith Padmanabhan), and it doesn’t take long before Krishnadas smells foul and arrests all three of them. Kurup, the master brain behind the plan, had by then gone absconding, and over the next several years disappears without a trace.

What Srinath sets out to do in ‘Kurup’ is to lend an explanation to this baffling disappearance that had lent the local police investigation quite a reputation,  and in doing so, comes up with a nerve wracking elucidation that once and for all sets the score right for the investigating officer. Well, almost. But he doesn’t stop there, and as if not being content with his conclusion, goes on to further elaborate the fugitive’s  current predicament, with unsought results.

One could believe that this is what the star charisma of the lead actor calls for, which in turn persuades the writers to add on a few final flourishes to their caricature of Kurup, which elevate him to the stature of a sophisticated conman, who probably he was, or maybe not. But it’s interesting to note that cinematically, this is vital, since its Dulquer Salmaan who is playing the title role, and I suspect the film would probably have had a different end – a more earthy one for a change – if it were someone else playing the criminal on screen.

Dulquer is quite in his spirits playing Kurup, and is ably supported by a host of actors, among whom Indrajith and Shine Tom stand out. Sobhita  Dhulipala, looks anyone but a nurse hailing from a very modest family in Kerala, and the less said about the two celebrity cameos, the better. They deserved some better screen space, is all I would say. Cinematography by Nimish Ravi is brilliant, and Sushin Shyam’s musical score impressive.

‘Kurup’ does get bogged down considerably by the endless trivia that lie strewn all along the narrative. The extra final explorations that it indulges in sound hollow, and while it remains an anodyne watch, there is hardly anything more that is offered.


Verdict: Average       


 

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