Kuruthi Movie Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Roshan Mathew’s Film Tackles Religious Radicalism in a Loophole-Laden Thriller (Stock Market Pioneer Exclusive)

Kuruthi Movie Review: Manu Warrier’s (Coffee Bloom) sophomore directorial, Kuruthi, is a thriller influenced by real-life happenings in India. Prithviraj Sukumaran is both the producer and the star in the film, that also has Roshan Mathew, Murali Gopy, Mamukkoya, Shine Tom Chacko, Srindaa and Manikandan R Achari. Anish Pallyal has penned the screenplay, Abinandhan Ramanujam cranks the camera and Akhilesh Mohan serves as the editor. Jakes Bejoy has scored the music for KuruthiKuruthi: Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Action-Thriller Skips Theatrical Release; Will Premiere on Amazon Prime Video This Onam.

While Prithviraj may be the biggest name in the Kuruthi cast, the real protagonist of the film is Roshan Mathew’s Ibrahim. A plantain labourer in the hilly terrains of Erattupetta who lost his wife and daughter in a landslide a year back, Ibrahim finds himself at crossroads with his deeply religious beliefs. A devout Muslim, Ibrahim is questioning his ordeals and wondering what purpose his Allah has set for him.

The purpose arrives one night when a policeman Sathyan (Murali Gopy) barges in with a murder convict in Ibrahim’s house, where he stays with his old father (Mamukkoya) and his younger brother Resul (Naslen). The convict Vishnu (Sagar Surya) had killed a Muslim shopkeeper in a hate crime. While taking him to the prison, the police jeep gets accosted by people unknown, thus leading the duo to reach Ibrahim’s house.

The night takes a further sinister turn when following the kill, the hunter arrives in the form of Laiq (Prithviraj Sukumaran), who seeks bloody vengeance. More players come in play, like Suma (Srindaa), Ibrahim’s Hindu neighbour who has an unrequited love for him, her brother Preman (Manikandan), Kareem (Shine Tom Chacko) a radical Muslim who has an influence on Resul. A bloodthirsty Laiq’s flawed ideals and the unexpected responsibility of protecting a man who can kill him over his misguided beliefs tests Ibrahim’s own faith.

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Trying to watch a movie through a political prism is something I don’t really want to get into because it deeply affects the entertainment and cinematic value of a film. But there are times you can’t help but avoid. Like Mammootty’s One‘s affinity to Leftist politics. Or recent Mimi‘s inclination towards anti-abortion stance. Mimi Movie Review: Kriti Sanon and Pankaj Tripathi’s Admirable Performances Barely Support a Deeply Taxing Film.

Kuruthi leaves you with no option but to get political with it. The thriller aspect comes as a shroud for the film to allow characters to engage in repetitive religious blame-games. If Vishnu speaks on behalf of Hindu radicalism, then Laiq and Resul, mostly the former, channels Islamic rebellion. And then there is Mamukkoya’s Basheer, who has the best lines in the film, representing the sane voice.

Often, the movie turns into a WhatsApp debate if we have created a room with these categories of hot-blooded fanatics and let the bewildered Ibrahim be the mute admin. That could be the idea of the movie, turning his house into a chatroom and show how once friends turn against each other over their rigid stance towards their faith. From Mughals to reservation, every conspiracy theory is flung in the name of asserting the rigid views.

The intention of the film is to expose the animalism that comes out of us when we are ingrained in our religious fanaticism. As Basheer says in the end, the first sin wasn’t Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit at the Garden of Eden. It was Cain killing his own brother out of jealousy and spite, and we are all descendants of Cain, born out of that hatred.

A wise line indeed, but I don’t really believe that Kuruthi (meaning ‘ritual sacrifice’) would ever work in winning over the fanatics of either religion. It might earn some accolades from the liberals and the centrists, but Kuruthi is mostly likely ending up strengthening what Hindu and Muslim fanatics believe against each other. Especially not working in favour Muslim community, thanks to Prithviraj’s insistently hate-spewing character, creating an image that is already being targeted from news channels to social media.

With much difficulty, let me set aside Kuruthi‘s deeply ingrained politicism and look at the thriller aspect. Have to say that the screenplay has promise, especially the first half, with the action mostly set in a house and a protagonist in a moral conflict over what his God expects him to be. There is a terrifying villain in a movie filled with grey characters, who won’t back down without killing his enemy. The plotline is seemingly inspired by John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 and James Mangold’s 3.10 to Yuma, with even a touch of Darwaaza Bandh Rakho. The inspirations doesn’t end there. There is a scene of Laiq chasing a bike that reminded me of T-Rex chasing down a jeep in Jurassic Park. I kid you not!

Inspirations aren’t the problem here, the loopholes and the lazy tropes are, though. Laiq is shown as a cunning, dangerous man who easily overpowers Sathyan, and yet he doesn’t seem to best Ibrahim and others to finish his vendetta. That too despite many, many opportunities to do so. At times, he even disappears from the scene, even though his sole aim is to get to his enemy. This makes you question the whole veracity of the thriller plotline, unless that part of Kuruthi was just an excuse of the makers to offer their commentary on today’s plight. The climax, especially, is a letdown with some very convenient tropes (characters who never used a gun before are surprisingly adept at hitting their targets).

As far as performances go, Roshan Mathew is subdued and effective. Prithviraj Sukumaran puts up a chilling demeanor but sometimes he overdoes his expressions. The young Nalen and Sagar Surya shine in their fierce verbal showdown. Murali Gopy is excellent in his brief screentime. Srindaa is really good, though her character’s turn in the second half felt as if the writer pulling a Sidney Sheldon twist on her. However, it is the veteran Mamukkoya who upstages everyone with the best one-liners (dialogues deserve special mention) and a surprising swag!

Yay!

– The Performances

– The Dialogues

Nay!

– Lengthy, Problematic Narrative

– Plenty of Loopholes with a Lame Climax

Final Thoughts

Kuruthi throws light on the fragile fanatical atmosphere pervading our society, but at times, the film does more harm than good unlike its intentions. The performances are fantastic, and the premise is arresting, but the thriller underwhelms with its loophole-laden screenplay. Kuruthi is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

(The above story first appeared on Stock Market Pioneer on Aug 11, 2021 10:17 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website stockmarketpioneer.com).

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