Kuruthi, an Amazon Prime original presented by Supriya Menon, goes by the tagline, 'A vow to kill… an oath to protect'.
The film, right from the opening sequences that reveal what is to come, justifies its title and tagline.
The movie, directed by Manu Warrier, opens with a goat that is going to be slaughtered as part of a holy ritual. While Ibru aka Ibrahim's (Roshan Mathew) little girl doesn't want Manikutty, the goat to be killed, Ibru justifies it stating that God will punish if we don't keep the promise made to him.
Ibru, as revealed from his opening statement, is a religious man and keeps each of his promises he takes in the name of God. His only concern is about the afterlife. He is also doubtful of the decisions he makes in his life.
Writer Anish Pallyal, in fact, beautifully puts it as "Doubts are part of faith, that's the sign of a true believer." He also brings forth yet another aspect with regard to the same in the climax sequences where it is said, "It is the doubt regarding whether to choose a right over a wrong that turns men into slaves."
For instance, in Ibru's case, Sumathi aka Suma (Srinda), his Hindu neighbour, is willing to get married to him and expresses her love for him. But he, on the other hand, is hesitant and is doubtful if his action to accept her will displease his God.
Having said that, the plot of the film lies beneath this thread. Anish Pallyal delivers with an intense script packed with potent dialogues.
From thought-provoking statements to political undertones, Kuruthi has many layers to it. While the initial half outlines the emotional setting and characterizations, the film wraps a relevant take on the current socio-political scenario and with regard to people belonging to different religions.
The hero of the movie is undoubtedly its script, which elevates the engaging thriller to a conflict over choosing between the right and the wrong.
Each element and each character are placed so well that the connection comes in full circle by the end. Like the beehive which Ibru takes a look at initially proves to be a significant motif in the climax though we may have ignored it initially as being irrelevant.
There comes a point where Ibru needs to make a choice and Laiq (Prithviraj) points out that he should choose what is right. Divulging more about Laiq and his connection with Ibru would be a spoiler. But to mention, faith runs deep in Laiq, whereas Ibru's ideology is more about humanity.
Similar is Moosa (Mamukoya), who at each turn in the narrative spills his ideology. In a scene, he talks about generosity and duty with regard to Suma's approach.
In fact, Suma's characterization deserves a special mention right from the point where she offers a plate of rice for Laiq to the time when she expresses her doubt whether she can love Ibru the same way as she used to before.
Resul (Naslen) and Vishnu (Sagar Surya) are yet another representation of the insider-vs-outsider battle.
Travelling in a non-linear fashion, the film looks at how hatred in mankind is passed on over generations.
Packed with action, conflicts and brilliant performances the film makes for an engaging thriller. Each character is capable of grabbing and holding on to our attention. Kuruthi is a bold take and discusses blind faith and hate that man is born with. However, at certain places the balance to justify both side seems a bit forced.
Abhinand Ramanujan's cinematography, especially the night shots and those within the house sequences, is robust enough.
As a debut director in Malayalam, Manu Warrier can be proud of helming a film with big notions. Unlike the festival-season films, Kuruthi, with a sensitive subject, is meant for a serious watch. Like how Onam reflects the quest of human beings for happiness, equality and harmony, Kuruthi too focuses on such an aspect where a good mankind is what one can hope for.
(The movie is available on Amazon Prime Video)