The Sukumara Kurup lore still fascinates Kerala 37 years later

The Sukumara Kurup lore still fascinates Kerala 37 years later

'Alappuzha: The soon-to-be released Dulquer Salmaan film 'Kurup' is testimony to Kerala's fascination with its most intriguing wanted man - Sukumara Kurup. It has been 37 years since a gruesome murder was plotted by him with a then-unheard of motive, at least in Kerala, and the native of Cheriyanad in Alappuzha district still remains elusive, though presumed to be dead unofficially.

Kurup remains a wanted criminal in the police records even now. The cold-blooded murder of film representative K J Chacko, a father-to-be, in a car on a national highway had sent shock waves across Kerala and is discussed even today.

The movie 'Kurup' directed by Srinath Rajendran will be released in five languages. Dulquer appears as Sukumara Kurup and Indrajith dons the role of an investigator.

The film which is likely to hit the screens in May is in fact the second one based on the crime. A 1984 film named 'NH 47 was also based on it.

The real story

In the morning of January 22, 1984, the charred body of Chacko was found in a black Ambassador by a paddy field near Kurup’s house. The paddy field is still known as 'Chacko paadam'.

Kurup, who allegedly committed the crime to claim Rs 8 lakh insurance amount from his Middle East insurer, is the prime accused in the sensational case.

Not just the police and Keralites, Chacko's wife Shanthamma too awaits the legal culmination of the murder case, though she made peace with the co-accused in the case as they served their term in the jail.

Sukumara Krurup
Sukumara Krurup. Photo: Manorama Archives

The trap

Today a plot at the TB Junction at Karuvatta where the Sree Hari Talkies once stood is in wilderness. Chacko, an Alappuzha native, had arrived at this theatre to collect the details about the second show collection and to seek the release of films such as 'Oru Mukham Pala Mukham' and 'Keni' (trap).

Chacko was waiting for a vehicle on the highway passing through Kerala's coastal stretch to return to his pregnant wife Shanthamma when he fell victim to the plot hatched by Kurup.

Sukumara Krurup's unfinished house at Vandanam in Alappuzha district. Photo: Manorama Archives

Kurup along with his co-brother Bhaskara Pillai, driver Ponnjappan, and Chavakkad native Shahu (a friend in the Gulf) were in search of a man bearing a resemblance to the former. In Chacko they found the perfect double. The gang gave him a lift, strangled him and burnt the body along with the car.

The police realised only much later that the deceased was not Kurup but Chacko.

Bhaskara Pillai, who served his sentence, is currently at his house at Puliyoor. Shanthamma stays at the Alappuzha house with her son Jithin, who was born after Chacko's death.

Kurup had planned to complete the construction of his bungalow at Vandanam locality through the money secured through the insurance fraud. That unfinished house is now overgrown with vegetation.

If he is alive, Sukumara Kurup would be 74 years old now.  

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