There is only so much you can possibly know about a mystery because it wouldn't be one otherwise. Yet therewithin the conundrum lies the expanse of possibilities, pitching the scope for imagination.
The makers of Dulquer Salmaan's much-fancied crime thriller Kurup that hit the theatres Friday have explored these immense possibilities -- of developing the fragmented life story of one of India's most-wanted fugitives, Sukumara Kurup.
And guess what, they have done a decent job.
Directed by Srinath Rajendran, Kurup isn't a tell-all about the man at large. It, however, attempts to essay a parallel biography that seems to tell a lot more than what has already been documented.
The names of the real-life characters have been fictionalised – the real-life protagonist's first name 'Sukumara' has been tweaked to 'Sudhakara', his hapless victim Chacko, is given as Charly, the investigating officer DySP Haridas, portrayed by the flexible Indrajith Sukumaran, becomes DySP Krishnadas in the film, and so on.
Yet the ubiquitous surname of the protagonist – Kurup – is retained, and for obvious reasons.
The plot that jumps between different timelines is partly narrated by DySP Krishnadas and by Kurup himself, with the latter's friend, Peter George played by Sunny Wayne, during his Air Force days, also contributing a bit initially.
Director Srinath, who debuted with Second Show also starring Dulquer, has used his hero's charm to good effect. But has he managed the transition of timelines – starting at a point in DySP Krishnadas's office in 2005 before skipping between the late 1950s to until 1984 when Kurup instigated the murder of 'Charly' for allegedly claiming life insurance – is for viewers to decide.
Dulquer has handled the role effortlessly – both the opulent lifestyle and the nefarious activities of Kurup, while Sobhita Dhulipala does justice to 'Sarada' with the modest screentime accorded to her.
A role that stands out is Shine Tom Chacko's Bhasi Pillai, a drunk, belligerent relative of Kurup, who helps accomplish the diabolical ploy of finding a lookalike to murder. Tamil star Bharath too makes an appearance in the later part, as a co-conspirator in Kurup's other shady businesses during his Mumbai days.
The brilliant Sushin Shyam has added yet another fine score to his musical library with 'Pakaliravukal'. But if you are a music buff, Kurup doesn't offer much in that regard as a peppy number 'Dingiri Dingale' sung by Dulquer is the only other song in the film. Sushin has though left an indelible mark with his background score that gets you tapping.
Cinematographer Nimish Ravi, who impressed with Tovino's Luca, deftly captures all the essentials of the various timelines shown in the film. Debutant screenwriters K S Aravind and Daniell Sayooj Nair have penned fine and nuanced dialogues to Jithin K Jose's story. Their attention to detail, as in ensuring the presence of trivial objects such as a pack of Complan in a showcase or gold-rimmed teacups of the good old days in cafes to help the viewer relate to the time, is commendable.
For a film that has had Malayalam movie lovers waiting with bated breath, (wearing their face masks) Kurup does provide a fine cinematic experience that the pandemic had stripped us off for long.