The one question that sparked heated debate on social media before the release of the movie Kurup was that whether the film would end up glorifying the notorious criminal who mercilessly killed a common man for his own gain. Well, what you get to see in the movie is some clever tactics by the makers where they oscillate between making him look like a hero and a bad guy. With more emphasis on the least known patches of Kurup’s history, Srinath Rajendran’s film is more of a stylized don saga that isn’t really trying to explore the fascination we feel hearing the original story.
Gopikrishna Kurup is our title protagonist. The story is narrated as the case diary of DYSP Krishnadas. Gopikrishnan, aka GK, went to join the air force and later left the force faking his death. Under a new name, he went to Persia and made a fortune for himself before leaving for his homeland. But Kurup had some wicked plans to earn more money, and he decided to fake his death one more time. How he chose to do that and how drastically it changed his life is what we see in Kurup.
The structuring and perspective are the two things I feel make great films that are based on real characters. The challenge is to surprise or engage a viewer who is well aware of the story. Sukumara Kurup is a popular name, and almost everyone has grown up hearing about this person. In order to make it enjoyable, writers Daniel Sayooj and KS Aravind have done the restructuring of the story by going back and forth in the timeline. Frankly speaking, I was expecting the movie to be more meticulous in presenting the investigation part of the real story. But here, that part feels far too breezy. Even the idea to go behind the possibilities of what Kurup might have become happens in a not so nuanced way.
Under the trailer of Kurup, I saw this comment “If you start hating Kurup while watching the movie, I believe that is the success of that movie. I want it to be so.” Well, the chances of that guy calling Kurup a success are very slim. Because Srinath Rajendran and writer Jithin K Jose aren’t really trying to create a character, you will hate. With all that swagger assigned to the central character and with a climax like that, Kurup is looking at the wanted criminal with admiration. The production quality of the movie is actually extremely impressive. From Banglan’s production design to Nimish Ravi’s frames, there is a certain level of visual appeal to Kurup, which definitely makes it an engaging film. Vivek Harshan also plays a crucial role in not confusing the viewer when the narrative shifts back and forth. Sushin Syam’s score and music enhance the vision of Srinath Rajendran to look at Kurup as a don.
Dulquer Salmaan wants to give Kurup this grey shade. But the maximum grey he can achieve is the Vikramadithyan kind of prankster persona. Very rarely will the movie have a moment where you will see Kurup in a pretty dark space, and even that will get a tweak by the end of that scene. Shine Tom Chacko is the next actor who gets a prominent space in the movie. And he has utilized that drunken criminal character effectively to deliver an impressive performance. Indrajith Sukumaran as DYSP Krishnadas might have a significant role in the story, but in terms of scope to perform and screen time, the character wasn’t offering him much. Shobita Dhulipala as Sharada doesn’t have much to contribute to the film. Similar was the case with Sunny Wayne, Shivajith Padmanabhan, etc. One performance that sort of stayed with me was that of Vijayakumar Prabhakaran as Ponnappan.
The fiction in Kurup is a bit too extravagant, and the focus on the actual facts isn’t really the most thrilling part of the case. There was a phase after the murder of Chacko where people actually believed Kurup was dead, and the only question was whether it was an accident or a murder. From that to the police finding the fraud nature of the crime with limited resources is a pretty intriguing segment in the actual story which sadly doesn’t have a prominent space in the movie. The writing isn’t going much deep to give us any exciting perspective on the case.
Srinath Rajendran’s film is more of a stylized don saga that isn’t really trying to explore the fascination we feel hearing the original story.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended