Kurup is free from exaggeration: Director Srinath Rajendran

Filmmaker Srinath Rajendran on his second collaboration with Dulquer Salmaan in Kurup, the much-awaited period film which traces the exploits of the elusive Malayali fugitive Sukumara Kurup

author_img Sajin Shrijith Published :  10th November 2021 05:00 PM   |   Published :   |  10th November 2021 05:00 PM
dulquer-kurup

Actor-producer Dulquer Salmaan in a still from 'Kurup'

Anyone eagerly anticipating the release of Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup would naturally have numerous questions on their mind, considering the subject matter. We had decided to keep this interaction with its helmer Srinath Rajendran short because, in his words, “It is better to let the film give all the answers.” 

It’s only fair because the past weeks saw social media ablaze with various theories on how the makers treated its main subject, Sukumara Kurup, and the promotional strategies that many felt were trying to glorify a murderer who remains untraceable. But the recent statement of Jithin—the son of Kurup’s victim, Chacko—after a private screening seemed to have quelled such concerns. Aside from stating that the film did not glorify Kurup in any way, Jithin added that the film explores some details hitherto unknown to him and that the public has to know about them too.

It was Srinath’s assistant and writer Jithin K Jose who first suggested the possibility of adapting his Kurup story for the big screen. Since Srinath was, at the time, a newcomer who had just made his first film, Second Show, with another new face, Dulquer Salmaan, the director-actor duo didn’t expect anyone to back a project undertaken by them. Besides, both had grand plans. They envisioned a vast canvas. “I used to tell Dulquer about every idea that came my way, even if it didn’t necessarily involve him in an acting capacity. I find his judgement sensible,” says Srinath, as he recalls the moment when the actor told him that everything would fall in place at the right time, in the scale that it demands. 

That time came seven years later, where one finds Dulquer as a star who not only managed to carve his own identity but also a notable pan-Indian presence. Srinath feels that this factor worked to the film’s advantage. “We wanted to do a film of this magnitude in Malayalam itself,” says Srinath. “I got to realise my dream because of Dulquer’s confidence and the opportunity he created for me.” 

When the film, scripted by KS Aravind and Daniell Sayooj Nair, was first announced, they said Kurup would also go into events unfamiliar to the general public. “It’s the real events told through our perspective,” explains Srinath. “One can see a lot of possibilities in the events that transpired later.  We can say point A must’ve happened or point B or point C, and so on. We accordingly worked out our project around all that. Since this is an ongoing case, it’s not up to us to write a verdict.”

In an earlier interview with us, Dulquer Salmaan, when asked whether the film glorified Sukumara Kurup or not, had told us, “Just because Kurup has a stylish element, I don’t think we are necessarily glorifying it. We are making sure that we are not whitewashing that character or showing him as someone good or misunderstood. I can guarantee that. But given the fact that he was an NRI living in the Gulf in the early 80s making a very fancy paycheck with his wife, I can’t deny the fact that maybe he was a very flamboyant, loud character.”

When asked about the work that went into recreating the period details, one can sense much excitement in the voice of Srinath, who saw this film as an opportunity to journey to “that wonderful time” in which he wished he could live. “Man, the cars and costumes back then... nothing from the present time can come close. In our film, we wanted everything realistic, be it Praveen Varma’s costumes or Banglan’s production design. We used the real locations. There is no exaggeration, even though the way we shot it is a bit stylised. But this is a film, after all, not a documentary. What you essentially see is that era through our lens,” he says.

One of the film’s integral crew members is cinematographer Nimish Ravi whose impressive work was evident in the trailer. Srinath entrusted Kurup with him despite the latter having worked in only one full-length feature, the Tovino Thomas-starrer Luca. “I knew Nimish could do justice to the film. I haven’t seen Luca—I was busy with the pre-production of Kurup at the time—but I saw a song from it that was influenced by the colour palette of Van Gogh. For Kurup, I wanted a particular palette and felt that Nimish, who is someone with a lot of passion and clarity, was apt for our film.” 

Also starring Sobhita Dhulipala, Indrajith Sukumaran, Shine Tom Chacko, Vijayakumar Prabhakaran, Shivajith Padmanabhan, Sunny Wayne, and Surabhi Lakshmi, Kurup will open in theatres on November 12.
 

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