‘Kurup’ movie review: Dulquer Salman’s crime biopic takes too many liberties with a real-life story

One could have taken a much kinder view of the script, which is engaging in parts, if not for the fact that it is based on an actual gruesome crime

Kurup begins with a long disclaimer, which like all disclaimers, is filled with half-truths and disappears in a flash. It seems to have been aimed at distancing the movie from the real-life story, on which it is clearly based. The horrific act of crime, which gave Kurup his notoriety, does not appear in the movie until well towards the midway point. But, the movie which takes a lot of creative liberties, presents this crime as one in a series of such acts by Gopikrishna Kurup (Dulquer Salman).

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The story and script, written by Jithin.K. Jose, K.S.Aravind and Daniell Sayooj Nair, spends considerable time in establishing his character with an elaborate backstory. Kurup’s crooked nature is evident right from the beginning, when he makes his parents believe that he had passed a public examination, which he had not. At the Air Force training camp too, he devises ways to get things done his way and make some money. Some of these early sequences, including one where he fools the rest of the trainees or another at a college rock festival, seem rather forced, with the point just being to underline the character’s flamboyant nature. The romance with Saradha (Sobhita Dhulipala) also seems to be there just to tick all the boxes of a mainstream movie, with the character almost disappearing fully in the latter half.


  • Director: Srinath Rajendran
  • Cast: Dulquer Salman, Sobhita Dhulipala, Indrajith Sukumaran

Kurup’s story is revealed to us through the recollections of his Air Force colleague Peter (Sunny Wayne), the diary entries of police officer Krishnadas (Indrajith Sukumaran) and from Kurup’s own version of the story, which fills the blanks left by the others. Charlie (another star in a surprise role), the victim of Kurup’s criminal act to claim an insurance amount, and his family, get just a couple of scenes, because this movie is all about Kurup, his wicked plans to move up the ladder and of course, his many stylish looks.

To their credit, the writers do lay bare the criminal bent of his mind, but on screen, many a time the camera worships Kurup as a hero, with the unmistakable heroic tone of the background score in sequences where he gives the police and his other adversaries a slip. Contrast this treatment of the character Kurup with that in NH 47, made back in 1984, based on the same incident. Despite its sloppily-written scenes and low production values, it got right the characterisation of Kurup, played by T.G.Ravi, with a viewer never for once feeling like sympathising with or clapping for a scene in which he is shown. Although the makers of Kurup have included enough scenes to defend themselves against accusations of glorifying a criminal, they also seem to have been compelled to include some scenes to satisfy the star’s fans.

One of the things the film gets right is the production design, especially in scenes set in the bygone era, with tastefully-done recreations of the 1970s and 80s. One could have taken a much kinder view of the script, which is engaging in parts, if not for the fact that it is based on an actual gruesome crime. If the intention was to tell the intriguing story of a fugitive, without even remotely celebrating him, they could have taken a few lessons from David Fincher’s Zodiac. For, there is only so much ‘creative’ liberty that one can take when it comes to a real-life story, despite all the disclaimers.

Kurup is currently running in theatres

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