The focus of Kuruthi is on hatred among people like “them and us” and how it has always been a baton passed from one generation to another generation. Kuruthi, written by Anish Pallyal and directed by Manu Warrier, isn’t taking a side here. It is almost like this balancing act where we see two communities fighting against each other in the name of various injustices from their respective perspectives. While Kuruthi sets up the premise very smoothly and enticingly, the film loses its metaphorical undertone towards its second half. And it ends up looking like a pertinent concept that needed more impactful making, especially in the second half.
Ibrahim, aka Ibru, is this religious Muslim man who lost his wife and kid in a landslide that happened a year ago. He hasn’t really recovered from that tragedy, and he has a neighbor named Preman who also lost his dear ones. The families of Ibru and Preman are close to each other for this reason. One night a police officer comes to Ibru’s home with a murder accused and seeks shelter as he was getting attacked by some people. How that one night goes is what we see in this drama.
As I already said, the premise building of Kuruthi is extremely impressive. It takes its own sweet time without any gimmicks to show us the mental state of its characters. Ibru’s dilemma about right and wrong, his dependency over religion, etc., are depicted through a calm narrative, and you don’t feel any distraction in the way the story moves forward. The entry of Laiq, the character played by Prithviraj Sukumaran, shifts the tone of the movie from a kind of character exploration to a mind game thriller. But the subtlety of the narrative slowly starts to fade from that point and somewhere that reduces the surprise element and becomes more of an action thriller with a focus on survival.
If you look at the whole picture, Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Laiq is more of a supporting character to the narrative. He is pretty much the antagonist here. And it was interesting to see a mainstream superstar doing a communally corrupted character. While the trailer shots showed a less dramatic Prithviraj in terms of dialogue delivery and expressions, the film had him performing in his typical way. In my opinion, Ibrahim, played by Roshan Matthew, is the center of the story, and in some ways, Ibru becomes the movie’s lens to look at the whole scenario. He is confused about his belief in the almighty, and he becomes extremely perplexed when he starts to realize the true colors of many of his dear ones. And from body language to dialect, Roshan manages to convey that character’s dilemma convincingly.
Mamukkoya as Moosa was top-notch, and if Kuruthi was a theater release, he would have been a scene-stealer performer. Murali Gopy was convincing as SI Sathyan. Srinda managed to pull off the dual shade in her character. Naslen had a bit of a hiccup in the dialog delivery in the initial stages, but later, he found that flow. Manikandan Achari was good in his role, while Shine Tom Chacko was a bit too stiff. Sagar Surya was okay with his performance, and Navas Vallikkunnu, who had zero dialogues in the movie, created a surprising impact with just screen presence.
The making of Kuruthi grabs your attention in the initial stages, even with that slow-paced narrative. Manu Warrier manages to capture the mindset of his characters very effectively in the first 45 minutes of the film. Post that, the film shifts its tone to this thriller genre. You have Abhinandan Ramanujam using split diopter shots to build the tension in conversation scenes. The tension that gets built around this scene is commendable. But post this, when the fightback happens, Kuruthi starts to lose its grip, and the unpredictability that kept us excited in the film till that point fades away. The action sequences that looked believable and brutal till that point start to feel too filmy, and eventually, we see Mamukkoya’s character literally saying what the movie wants to convey. The songs from Jakes Bejoy weren’t that great, while the background score worked for the movie.
At a time when even a title of an unreleased film is causing issues, Kuruthi feels like a gutsy movie for sure. And technically, the movie looks solid too. But after building a captivating premise in the most minimal way, the makers went for a more verbal and over-the-top climax. And in my opinion, loudness in presentation reduces the impact it should have created in the viewer’s minds.
After building a captivating premise in the most minimal way, the makers went for a more verbal and over-the-top climax. This loudness in presentation reduces the impact it should have created.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended