Dulquer Salmaan is playing the role of the real life criminal Sukumara Kurup who killed Chacko 37 years ago and staged it as his own death.

Jithin in a brick red shirt stands tall next to Santhamma in her Sari, with his hand around her shoulder, standing against white wallsJithin and Santhamma
Flix Interview Saturday, November 06, 2021 - 10:53

It was friends who told Jithin about a movie called Kurup, going to be made on his father’s killer. All his life he had heard stories about the way a man called Sukumara Kurup murdered his young father Chacko and left his body burning in a car. It was Kurup’s car, that was left completely charred, to give the impression that he had died with it. Kurup, coming home to Alappuzha from the Gulf, was trying to claim a huge sum as insurance for his family. The deception came out but the man never got caught in 37 years.

“I was horrified to learn about the film, and felt worse when I knew that a star like Dulquer Salmaan was playing Kurup. How can an actor that everyone admires play a villain? Will the character be glorified, will his actions be justified, we feared. When I saw the teaser, I was sure it’d be something on those lines. So we sent a legal notice to the movie’s team,” Jithin tells TNM.

Dulquer Salmaan is working with his first director Srinath Rajendran for the film. It was nine years ago that both of them launched their movie careers with Second Show. “Srinath called us when we sent the legal notice. He assured us that there will be no justification of Sukumara Kurup like we feared and offered to show us the film before the release. Once I watched it, I understood that there was more to the story than I had heard all this while and it was important that it reached the people. There was no glorification of the man who killed my father,” Jithin says in relief.


Chacko / Courtesy - Jithin

His mother Santhamma did not watch the film. It had been hard enough having to tell the tale numerous times in the 37 years that passed. Chacko was only 32 at the time of his death and Santhamma was pregnant with Jithin. That fateful night Chacko was standing outside a film theatre in Karuvatta (in Alappuzha district), having finished his work there as a ‘film representative’. He hitched a lift with a gang of men passing by in a car. Unfortunately for him, those were the accomplices of Kurup, looking for a victim to kill and pass off as Kurup. They forced him to drink alcohol and ether and strangled him to death and took the body to a house owned by Kurup where he was waiting for them. They scorched his head and face in the house to avoid identification and then put him in Kurup’s car before burning it.  

“I didn’t watch that part, I went away. But a friend who came along with me told me it’s been shown truthfully. I can’t say much about it either. All my knowledge of the incident comes from newspaper reports and snatches of interviews I have heard my mother give all these years. I know how much it pains her every time to talk about it in such detail. So I never asked her about it.”


Kurup's burnt car / Courtesy - Dr B Umadethan's Dead Men Tell Tales

Santhamma too had been upset by the movie announcement and its teaser. Will they show Chacko and his family in a negative light, she feared. Both Santhamma and Jithin had not heard of the film Pinneyum when it came out five years ago. Only much later did they realise that it too had been about Sukumara Kurup, but portraying him in a ‘sympathetic’ light. “I don’t know how anyone who knew the real story could make a film like that. There was absolutely no sympathy shown to the Chacko family. They didn’t think about the bereaved family of Chacko, who were still alive,” Jithin says.

Watch: Trailer of Kurup

Since Chacko’s death in 1984, the family moved houses a couple of times. For three years they stayed at Chacko’s family home in Chathanad and then moved to Santhamma’s in Pathampally. Santhamma worked as a housekeeper at the W&C Hospital all the while and raised Jithin with some help of relatives. Later they bought a land nearby and built a house there. Jithin works in car sales. 

Dulquer's Kurup got announced some time ago, but had been delayed owing to COVID-19. When production work resumed, the team gave out regular updates – a teaser, a trailer, a song and a release date for theatres. In Kerala, it took longer for theatres to open a second time, with the pandemic refusing to slow down. But as soon as the government gave the nod for a late October opening, the Kurup team announced a release on November 12.

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