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Kuruthi Goes Into Areas That  Cinema Rarely Dares




Kuruthi(Amazon Prime, Malayalam)

Kuruthi is a story about how enduring human relations that transcend boundaries struggle to survive trails of hatred and prejudice

Rating: ****

Kuruthi(Amazon Prime, Malayalam) Review: Sitting through this tense tactile  turbulent take on communal biases and polarized  loyalties based on religion rather than humanity  , not once  did  I hear the  ‘H’  and ‘M’ words . The two  communities are referred  to as   ‘our people ‘ and ‘your people’.

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A rather curious concession to coyness in a drama that doesn’t shy away from calling a  spade a spade.And  a terrorist a  terrorist.

Kuruthi is  not an easy film to watch. Unlike , say, Anubhav Sinha’s commendable  Mulk which made  it easy for us to identify the Good Muslim  and the Bad Muslim,  in a  very Good Cop-Bad Cop kind of ‘thriller’  mode,  Kuruthi has no easily soluble  pills to  offer. A  cop(Murali Gopi, excellent) drags along a handcuffed  prisoner who  killed  a man for desecrating a temple, his temple, where his father  was the head priest.

 The communal divide in India is  massively  complicated. And director  Manu Warrior, stepping into this extremely volatile territory  of  extremism  after some relatively negligible  work earlier on, plunges headlong  into the simmering communal cauldron. He  looks at the  communal divide  for what it is: a  mess aggravated by  politicians.

At  times the  plot  brings in  too many  characters and ideas into play  simultaneously crowding the plot’s eco-system unnecessarily. But the  theme’s thundering power to rip open the lulling  simplified  communal  structures that are  so daintily built  into  our so-called politically conscious cinema,  effectually  demolishes  all the scared crowds  of  “safe” filmmaking bringing out the  ugly underbelly of the communal strife  in the open, until the characters all stand naked in their  polarized  loyalties.

Specially shocking is the outburst by Srindaa(played by Sumathi) the seemingly  gentle Hindu  neighbour of  the  film’s liberal Muslim hero Ibrahim “Ibru”(Roshan Mathew who is  so  good he doesn’t let us feel his brilliance). She wants to marry Ibru and doesn’t mind converting. When Srindaa takes off on her  “our people…your  people” tirade, I  knew all is lost. We  may  look towards the Liberal Hindu and  the Liberal Muslim for communal amity. But how  liberal is  the so-called liberal?

 Kuruthi blows  the lid open.The fumes that emerge are toxic and lethal. A  major part of  the tense tactile drama unravels in one tiny middlclass  home where a  patriarch Moosa(the brilliant Mamukkoya) thinks Shah Rukh Khan was  a liberal  ruler from Mughal  dynasty. I didn’t find  Moosa’s  ignorance to be funny. Maybe  it isn’t meant to be. The   characters keep barging into Moosa’s home  , each  communicating his  and in one instance, her  ideas  with  a virulent  contempt for  ideological soundness.

The  film occasionally looks  stagy, perhaps deliberately so. At one point a man rushes into  the venue of  the action  as  if he was waiting  for his cue from behind the camera. I still don’t know who he was.  The  visitor who is  given the most rousing welcome is  Prithvi Raj who plays the  extremist with a ceaseless smirk, as if  Laiq(that’s  the character’s name) knows something we don’t.

Ironically  Prithvi Raj’s Laiq is  the most uni-dimensional character in Kuruthi. A red-hot  personification of extremist evil  with no room for  reform. All the  other character undergo severe  ideological changes  before  the night is   over.

Kuruthi is  a very tough film to slot.  It is a helpless  hopeless piercing cry for peace  in  a world that has no patience or appetite for rational thought any  longer. It is   film  filled and fuelled  by pain. It  pleads and bleeds  for tolerance and  acceptance between the  two communities(hamare log aur unke log) . But it know   it’s a losing battle.

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