Kurup Review: 3/5
Kurup is the story of a fugitive who is on the run but is not really the story of the fugitive you’re thinking of. True to the disclaimer at the start of the film, Kurup is a fictional story that has some elements inspired by real events. Had this been a normal DQ movie, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference (except for the infamous brand value that comes with the movie’s namesake). But let’s not get caught up with the reality vs fiction debate. For now, I’ll share my thoughts about Kurup as a fictional story.
The Hero(?)’s Journey in Kurup
Spanning over three acts, the movie portrays the story of an individual who rises from being a udayipp daav in a village in Kerala to a season criminal mastermind. For most parts, the story is fairly realistic. I’m pretty sure you would’ve heard of conmen who relied on street smarts to swindle regular folk and get away with murder (figuratively). The non-linear narrative leaves bread crumbs at various points in the plot that keep you invested till the end. In many ways, it is similar to the many “hero dons” we’ve seen on screen – a villain in every story except for the one we’re being shown.
Nimish Ravi’s cinematography stands out and is well shot. The sound design of Kurup is top-notch and subtly sets the right tone in many scenes. However, the periods that the movie is set in are not brought to life in full splendour. A keen-eyed viewer is able to notice that the production design department could’ve done a tad bit more. The VFX used in the movie is okay, but some parts feel like they do not belong in a movie that touted a high production budget.
The Shineing Light
While most performances in Kurup are fairly forgettable, one that really stands out is that of Shine Tom Chako as Bhaskara Pilla. Shine seems to have the uncanny ability to get the viewer to feel an intense and involuntary hatred in his character. He carries the weight of the film in the second act and delivers what could be one of his most memorable performances.
Indrajith too is on point as DySP Haridas but I felt he was tied down by an underwhelming script that was rife with storytelling tropes. Tovino’s cameo was a relief too as he was able to contrast the innocence of his character with the evil of the protagonists fairly well in the brief time that he was on screen.
The rest of the cast deliver fairly underwhelming performances.
Oru Diary Kurup
The storytelling format used in the movie is as old as the time and has been used to death. While it worked well with movies like Kalapani, the exposition in Kurup feels long and drawn out. The three acts of the movie feel like separate movies, with the second act being the strongest.
There are characters introduced who add little to no value in the film and the plot leaves many loose ends that, making you feel as the Kerala police do when they haven’t caught a criminal who has evaded justice for more than four decades. You end up feeling that a lot of the details that are given are unnecessary. The movie would’ve been better with a second round of editing in both scripting and post-production.
Neenga Kettavana Alla Nallavana?
Ok, so I’ve mentioned earlier that this is very similar to many stories we’ve seen in the past about a textbook villain who ends up being the hero of the story. The makers of the movie had repeatedly stated that they have not glorified Sukumara Kurup in the movie, and they’ve stayed true to their word. When you watch the movie, you realise that they have not glorified “Sumukara Kurup”.
However, having the movie named after a particular character automatically gives the character a certain leeway in terms of how “evil” he is perceived to be by the viewer. And that’s the pitfall that Kurup falls into too. As the movie progresses, there are half-hearted attempts made to get the viewer to realise how dastardly the acts committed by the titular character are. But in the end, he is still the “hero”.
So that was my review. If you haven’t guessed already, my view is that this movie is fairly underwhelming. It is a one time watch at best, but do be warned that you might just ask yourself why you risked getting Corona to watch this passable flick.