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    1. #1
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      Aravind Krishnan's Avatar
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      Default Kurup: Half-baked combination of Mr Fraud and Lucifer

      Venue: Dubai Marina Mall, 1:00 pm, 15-11-21
      Attendance: 3 people including myself

      20 years ago, Mohanlal both elevated and broke Malayalam Cinema (depending on perspective) with his meeshapiri, larger-than-life characters, one-man show that set the industry back somewhat. Much later Malayalam movies with their multi-genre, realistic ventures have become much lauded by cinegoers across India and outside. In this atmosphere, another larger-than life film, Kurup, emerges, whereby the filmmakers turn the absorbing Sukumara Kurup murder and abscond into a fictional, illogical mess chiefly due to their obsession with Dulquer Salman, his looks, hairstyle, and costumes.

      Dulquer has been around for almost 10 years now. He is undeniably a crowd puller and THE emerging one at that after the Big Ms. When one gets the opportunity to play such an intriguing real-life character, it would have been wise to grab the opportunity to grow as an actor, focus on performance, and let others take the spotlight keeping the bigger picture in mind. Alas, DQ and the filmmakers instead play to the gallery and let his star image takes centerstage. The end result is two steps back for the industry, even if a milestone for DQ the star. The film has ambitious aspirations but the 2nd half turns into Mr Fraud's fashion parade in a larger scale with a climax being a poor imitation of Lucifer's electrifying finale. Kurup really displays how limited an actor DQ is. It's just similar mannerisms and expressions as in Usthad Hotel/Charlie with a bit more polish.

      Kurup unfolds in three acts. Somewhere buried in one of the acts there is a good movie. This occurs during the staging and execution of the murder of Charlie in Kerala, 1984, and this act is memorable thanks to fantastic performances by Shine Tom Chacko and Tovino Thomas, along with the actors who play Kurup's accomplices. The direction, cinematography and BGM is perfect here. However to get to this act there is an overstretched first one hour which really needed a liberal scissor cut. Structurally, it may have been more effective to position the murder sequences much earlier to pique interest and then move to the exploration of Kurup as a character.

      Yet even with such a long runtime we do not get into the skin of Kurup. What are his motivations? What drives him? How does he feel when he leaves his best friend and then lover? Just as the movie becomes engaging with the investigation into his disappearance, the makers remember their first love and hastily change the narrative into a DQ advertisement. He fools the police, his colleagues and even a Middle East prince (less said the better). How all this happens is an afterthought, we are just told to trust DQ and his cheeky expressions. The poor research and thought process is sadly evident in the latter stages of the film. The last 10 minutes is undeniably funny, if you are a Mohanlal fan that is.

      Coming to the performances, Dulquer's charisma alone is the reason why we manage to sit through the first half. But we dont feel anything for Kurup and his multiple aliases due to the lack of depth and shades. Shine Tom Chacko injects much energy into the narrative mid-way and makes us both resent and fear his character. It begs the question, if he could do it, why didnt DQ and the makers work to make Kurup a character that one hated/feared/felt disgust rather than worship? Indrajith turns in one of his career-worst performances. As a police officer tasked in hunting down the fugitive, he simply lacks any energy and spark throughout. Even when he says to Charlie's wife that 'I will avenge Charlie's child by putting Kurup behind bars', we dont feel anything. The less said about lead heroine Sobitha Dhulipala, the better. Tovino makes us feel his character's pain, innocence and helplessness in a few seconds. Rest of the artistes come and go without any impact. The biggest letdown is the absence of a credible, convincing investigation track which was discarded in favour of making fun of police officers and air force alike. Had that taken centerstage at the expense of the Mr-Fraud inspired fashion parade, Kurup would have truly been a worthy watch.

      In sum, Kurup is a wasted opportunity. But it is still a good one-time theatrical watch. The murder scenes are well executed and worth a watch on the big screen.Technically the film is superb, especially the art direction in the earlier half. The 1970s-80s has been faithfully recreated with colourful costumes. Sushin Shyam's BGM and multi-composer's songs elevate the mood, even if the songs work better as a standalone soundtrack. The catchy Neelakadalin, the haunting Pakalliravukal and thumping Paathira Kaalam will be in my playlist for a long time to come.

      There is a potentially thrilling movie here hidden behind fan service. Even if we see the film as fiction, It's such a shame Malayalam cinema has to again turn to superficial one-man larger than life glorification at the expense of story and thrills. I thought we had left that all behind long ago.

      Rating: 2.75/5
      Last edited by Aravind Krishnan; 16th November 2021 at 02:20 PM.

    2. #2
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      Puthu Manavalan's Avatar
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      3 ppl ???
      Last edited by Puthu Manavalan; 16th November 2021 at 06:02 PM.
      ഞാൻ ഇതാണെന്ന് പറയാൻ ഞാൻ ആരെ ഭയക്കണം...

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Puthu Manavalan View Post
      3 ppl ???
      Normal status in Dubai during a weekday. And it suited me from a Covid point of view

    4. #4
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      thanks

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