Kurup : Aloofedly Conned
Star Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Sobhita Dhulipala, Indrajith Sukumaran, Shine Tom Chacko, Sunny Wayne, Bharath Niwas, Maya Menon, Vijaykumar Prabhakaran, and Bharat
Music Composed by Sushin Shyam
Produced by Wayfarer Films & M-Star Entertainments
Directed by Srinath Rajendran
Con movies are really orgasmic as they give a certain high to our rather hidden dark side. Yes, every one of us has a dark side and we do relish stupid things like hurting someone at least in all fun ways from time to time. We are not heartless, ruthless, and unkind. But that doesn’t mean we are creatures descended from celestial worlds and can never do anything wrong. We enjoy certain dark-ish arrogance within ourselves and nurture a few unpleasant feelings like ego, envy, an enormous amount of over kindness, and generosity. Anything in abundance is a problem and generosity, trust in abundance are also a big issue. Kurup film suffers from Dulquer Salmaan trusting the written word too much to the tee and generosity of his to provide everything in abundance to the director. He managed to create the aesthetical world, fun-looking visuals, get a great background score, show good performances, and even managed to engage us in proceedings. Still left us aloof at the bay while the action was happening in the middle of the ocean.
Throughout the film, we feel like we have been asked to invest in the beautiful pictures like aurora lines over the north pole, carefully crafted with great production design and aesthetically presented by the DOP – while we are asked to hear and believe that the phenomenon is worth watching. Our eyes, ears, and other senses feel impulsively the urge to connect with someone or something and that enhances the emotion. If that doesn’t happen, aurora lines over the north pole picture is equivalent to a smudged picture of a huge galaxy, whose importance has to be explained rather than felt. This kind of stuff is acceptable in a sci-fi genre film but not a biographical crime drama.
Kurup being a character-driven conman film, rather than the con, it is the con-man whom we want to know more about. Because someone has money and some clever person decided to steal it or he/she might have decided to cheat a country altogether. Conmen are very notorious and their motivations are not easy to understand. Showing what they do or what they did makes a film biographic and documentary. If it has to be a drama then you need to understand the motives of a character. Could be wrong, could be right, could be noble or could be twisted, or could be outlandish but there should be a motive. There should be a desire to achieve something or at least to survive.
Kurup manages to document the actions of a conman but fails to give him a character. Also, the approach of the director by giving the main actor less screentime comparatively, we just end up getting unnecessary information about the crime and criminals rather than the main one. The Ultimate crime star seems untouchable and almost like the almighty, can escape from any place, and can appear at any place. This just kills the character and the interest in the motivation that drives him to pull off these elaborate schemes with meticulous ease and precision. Every criminal does have a motive, if one doesn’t then just surviving becomes their motive as the world decides to conspire against them to stop. When he has the skills to join Air Force, why does he think about easy ways to earn money? Does money drive him? Does fame drive him? Does power drive him? Why is his wife fascinated with him? Why is Indian Air Force calm over him supplying illegal weapons to foreigners? Why does a Policeman feel more responsible to end Kurup’s notorious activities than others in the department? Well, we can write our own pov’s but a director needs to give answers to at least some of these questions to let the film be more connectible and comprehensive. Why did a crafty young director did not understand this simple fact is beyond my understanding.
This movie could have been a great example of craftsmanship. A great example of a star letting others also take center stage. A great example of an idea being backed by everyone involved to make it the best possible iteration. Instead, Kurup ends being a wannabe. Like how earthworm feels like a wannabe snake, Kurup ends up being a better film than Kedi (2010) while it attempts to be a Malayalam version of Catch Me If You Can (2002). We get perspectives of different characters who are important in the conman’s life like his wife, best friend, and crime partners but we are not asked to connect with any of them as they are used as presenting devices by the director rather than plot-driving nuances. Changing between perspectives to understand an incident has been explored by Rakshit Shetty in Ulidavuru Kandante (2014) much better. Gautham Vasudev Menon desires to achieve such storytelling all the time with voice-overs. But here we are given those voice-overs almost like an afterthought. So that we can understand what is happening more clearly. While the director wanted us to feel like the readers of the old diary or case file which only submits perspectives and point-of-views, that approach seems to have killed a much better film waiting to happen. On the whole, Kurup ends up being a well-dressed mannequin, while we were promised a stunningly breathtaking human model. Being Aloof with the story itself kills the heart conman… Hence, felt like Aloofedly Conned by team Kurup.