Kurup Review: It is All Dulquer Salmaan’s Show But Srinath Rajendran’s Direction Lacks Energy

Movie: Kurup
Kurup Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Shine Tom Chacko, Sobhita Dhulipala, Indrajith Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas, Maya Menon, Vijaykumar Prabhakaran
Kurup Director: Srinath Rajendran
Where to Watch: In Theatres
Review by: Russel D’Silva

If anybody defines new-age Malayalam cinema to the hilt, it’s Dulquer Salmaan. While Mohanlal and Mammootty continue the grand tradition of masala Malayalam movies, Fahadh Faasil keeps dishing out the revolutionary wave of Malayalam films for fun and Prithviraj Sukumaran does both albeit with a rustic vibe, Dulquer imbues all of the above, with an additional urbane touch with required, tapping into the every age and geo-cultural demographic of Malayalam cinema fans. So, is his most ambitious and costliest serving yet, Kurup, turn out to be another feather in his cap? Alas, it gets bogged down under the weight of its ambitions and also walks in the shadow of its own leading man’s aura.

So, are you excited about what to watch this weekend or what to watch this week and wondering whether Kurup is worth your time? Scroll down for my full Kurup review…

What’s it about

Kurup endeavours to cover the length, breath, height and depth of its eponymous real-life conman, Sukumara Kurup, one of Kerala’s most wanted, who was accused of murder and faking his own death, leading to a countrywide manhunt in a case that’s unresolved till date.

What’s hot

Front, back, left, right and centre Kurup is a Dulquer Salmaan show, written for him, mounted family him, envisaged around him, and the Malayalam cinema heartthrob lives up to the project’s high demands in more ways than one. He embodies every facet of his real-life eponymous conman, making us fall in love with him one moment and abhor him the very next. Director Srinath Rajendran and his writers (Jithin K. Jose, K. S. Aravind and Daniell Sayooj Nair) have understandably carved their entire narrative around Dulquer, knowing full well that they have an actor who’s also capable of evoking the swag and histrionics such a larger-than-life character demands sans going overboard and playing to the gallery, so kudos to them for not diluting this effect in the quest of pseudo-realism.

Another highlight of Kurup is its infectious background score and soulful songs, with music director Sushin Shyam raising and mellowing the tempo exactly as and when the film demands. The usage of 60s and 70s Bollywood chartbusters paralleling the factual screenplay also makes for a refreshingly peppy touch. Sobhita Dhulipala, Shine Thomas Chako, Indrajith Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas Sunny Wayne, Maya Menon and Vijaykumar Prabhakaran are also in fine form, lending a firm hand to Dulquer. Nimish Ravi’s gritty, grimy camerawork is another high point.

What’s not

For a con film, Srinath Rajendran’s direction lacks the necessary vitality and brisk pace. Plus, it’s due to Dulquer’s dexterity that the character remains as interesting as he is on screen; in the hands of a lesser actor, he’d have become bland given the work behind the camera. It’s telling that reading about the real-life Kurup is more interesting than watching his life unfold on screen, which makes it quite long-winding and frankly, a task to follow at times. Vivek Harshan’s cuts also needed to have been far sharper and tighter to infuse the kind of punch such a movie demanded.

BL Verdict

Kurup is Dulquer Salmaan and Dulquer Salmaan is Kurup, as it should be given that he plays the eponymous, larger-than-life, real-life conman who’s evaded capture to this day. However, as much as the star shines, the direction lacks the punch of a con film, the flow lacks the briskness for such a thriller and the screenplay takes is too long-winded to keep the audience glues to their seats – all mandatory prerequisites for an effective movie of this kind as displayed by stalwarts like Neeraj Pandey, Sriram Raghavan and Vijay Anand in the past. A treat of Dulquer fans, but lackluster for those who aren’t. I’m going with 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating :2.5 out of 5