Kurup review: Long-drawn but largely engaging crime thriller about a most wanted fugitive

Release Date: 12 Nov 2021 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 36min

Cinestaan Rating

  • Acting:
  • Direction:
  • Music:
  • Story:

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Hearteningly, the film does not try to humanize this story of a fugitive who has become a cult figure and presents Kurup with all his flaws without excuses.

The story of Sukumara Kurup, one of India's most wanted fugitives who faked his own death by killing a lookalike and claimed the insurance payout, is among the more spine-chilling crime stories to have emerged from the country. That Kurup managed to pull off the crime and evade capture makes the story even more exciting.

Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup (2021), a compelling crime drama, attempts to narrate this story of the notorious fugitive in realistic fashion by taking certain cinematic liberties. The film is impressive and works to a large extent, especially in recreating the mood over the course of three decades.

Kurup opens in the year 2005. The scene is the retirement ceremony of deputy superintendent of police Krishnadas (Indrajith Sukumaran). As Krishnadas gets his office cleaned, a subordinate stumbles upon a diary titled Kurup. As he starts reading it, we are introduced to Gopikrishnan aka GK (Dulquer Salmaan) who later becomes Sudhakara Kurup.

GK is introduced as a wayward youngster who lives life on his own terms. He joins the Indian Air Force as his parents and uncle believe it is the perfect place to discipline the lad.

But GK is the kind of guy who always has a trick up his sleeve. He knows ways to make a quick buck; he soon turns into an expatriate and, later, a fugitive. GK goes on to acquire the identity of Sudhakara Kurup and the rest of the story is about how he fools the entire Kerala police department, setting it on a never-ending hunt for his whereabouts.

It is heartening that the film does not try to humanize the story of a fugitive who has become a cult figure of sorts but presents Kurup with all his flaws and enables us to see him as a man without ethics. Dulquer Salmaan plays Kurup with unmatched swag and effortlessness. Most of the first half is spent building up the character. No excuses are offered for what made Kurup such a flawed person.

The film does take the mainstream route and glorify Kurup to an extent. It is understandable that these things are needed in a commercial project. Thankfully, it does not go overboard with the portrayal of the character. The recreation of the period portion — the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s — aids the storytelling beautifully and helps to set the mood of the film. The narrative is elevated by the brilliant score by Sushin Shyam.

Kurup does feel long-drawn-out at times, but the suspense of the hunt for the title character keeps it engaging. Indrajith Sukumaran is aptly cast as the investigating officer. Much as you feel that his character doesn’t get its due, it’s justified in the end.