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Kurup preview: All you need to know about Dulquer Salmaan and Sobhita Dhulipala’s crime thriller

The movie, which is directed by Srinath Rajendran, has a host of talented actors including Indrajith Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas, Sunny Wayne and Shine Tom Chacko in pivotal roles

Sanjith Sidhardhan
Sep 02, 2021
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Dulquer and Sunny Wayne in Kurup

There have hardly been many Malayalam movies like Kurup that have got the Malayali audience as well as the industry waiting for its release. Part of the reason is its lead actor Dulquer Salmaan, who has got a major pull among the youth and the family audience to bring them back to theatres. But that’s not the only reason why fans have been excited; the Srinath Rajendran is packed with enough stunning elements to ensure that every viewer comes satisfied with what it has to offer.

The film, which is scripted by Aravind KS, Jithin K Jose and Daniell Sayooj Nair, is based on the life of the infamous fugitive Sukumara Kurup. The cast of the big-budget movie is in itself a huge attraction with Dulquer playing the lead along with Indrajith Sukumaran, Sunny Wayne, Shine Tom Chacko, Sobhita Dhulipala, Surabhi Lakshmi, Shivajith Padmanabhan and Maya Menon.

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Dulquer Salmaan in Kurup

Who is Sukumara Kurup?

Sukumara Kurup aka Gopalakrishna Kurup is one of the most wanted criminals in Kerala. He was accused for the murder of a man named Chacko, who resembled him, in 1984 and had used his body as his own to claim an insurance amount of Rs 8 lakh. Chacko’s body was found in the driver’s seat inside a burnt Ambassador car in Mavelikkara. Kurup’s brother-in-law Bhaskara Pillai had testified that the charred body resembled that of Kurup. While Kurup reportedly fled abroad after the incident, the two co-accused, Bhaskara Pillai and his driver Ponnappan, were sentenced to life-time imprisonment.  

The upcoming movie, however, will also take a look at Kurup’s life before the infamous incident. This involves him joining the Indian Air Force and soon losing interest to rejoin his troops after returning home. In a report by Vishnu Varma in Indian Express, it mentions that Kurup was branded a ‘deserter’ by the air force and an enquiry was initiated. To close the case, he reportedly bribed a police officer to fake a report that Gopalakrishna Kurup had died. This also led to him adopting his new name Sukumara Pillai, which he used to apply for a passport to leave for the Gulf.

The movie will also chronicle Kurup’s life in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he worked in a marine company. His spendthrift ways soon landed him in heavy debts. Kurup also required money to start a business in the Gulf, where employers were shedding their workforce, and his house in Kerala was under construction. This forced him to come up with the plan to scheme the insurance company, an idea that he got from a detective magazine.   

The initial idea was to get a dead body, but when his brother-in-law Bhaskara Pillai suggested this was impossible, Kurup thought of murder. In January 1984, Kurup, his friend Shahu, driver Ponappan and Bhaskara Pillai drove around NH 47 to pick their victim. At Haripad, they gave a lift to Chacko, a film representative, in their car. During the journey, they strangled him to death. Later, they also burnt his face and dressed him in Kurup’s clothes and belongings. They then pushed the car toward a paddy field after lighting it on fire.

Who plays which character in Kurup?

As of now, it’s confirmed that Dulquer will play the infamous fugitive in the film. Indrajith will play a cop who is on the hunt for Kurup. The case had sent Kerala police on a wild goose chase to North India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bhutan and the Middle East.

It’s also rumoured that Tovino Thomas will play Chacko in the film, but there’s no official confirmation on this yet. Shine Tom Chacko is expected to star in the role of Bhaskara Pillai in the film while Sunny Wayne plays Kurup’s friend from his airman days.

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Shine Tom Chacko as Bhasi Pillai in Kurup

Sobitha, meanwhile, is expected to essay the role of Kurup’s wife Sarasamma, who had initially worked as a nurse in Mumbai and then travelled with him to Abu Dhabi after their marriage, much against his parents’ wishes.

Dulquer’s Kurup is not the first Malayalam film to be based on the fugitive. In 1984, director Baby had released a film titled NH47 that had TG Ravi playing a character named Sudhakaran Pillai. Actor Sukumaran played the role of Chacko in the movie that ended with the capture of the criminal.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Pinneyum was also loosely based on the Chacko murder case. Sukumara Kurup has been one of the most recurring characters in Malayalam cinema with him being referred to in movies such as Prithviraj’s Tamaar Padaar and most recently in Sunny Wayne’s Pidikittapulli.

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Dulquer Salmaan in Kurup

What is the budget of Kurup?

Kurup is touted to be the most expensive film in Dulquer’s career. The star is also producing the movie, which will mark his second collaboration with Srinath Rajendran. The director-actor duo had previously teamed up in 2012 for their debut venture Second Show.

The movie, which reportedly cost Rs 35 Cr to make, was shot over a period of six months in locations such as Kerala, Dubai, Mumbai, Mangalore, Mysore and Ahmedabad. Its shoot had begun in September 2019 and had concluded in February 2020. In August 2021, Dulquer had shared an update that the team had completed its final mixing.

When will Kurup release?

The movie was initially scheduled for a 2020 release but was postponed due to the pandemic. After that the new release date was to be around the end of May, which again got pushed further due to the second wave of COVID-19 cases in Kerala. Apart from Malayalam, the film has also been dubbed in four languages – Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Kannada.

A few months earlier, a source close to the production house had told OTTplay that streaming platforms had approached the team of Kurup for its digital rights. However, the amount offered for an original Malayalam film like Kurup to release directly on OTT platform didn’t make it a viable option. However, with theatre re-opening in Kerala still uncertain for another month, there are also rumours that the film’s rights have been sold to Netflix for a record price. There has not been an official confirmation regarding the same yet.

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