Kurukshetram is the Telugu dubbed version of Kannada crime thriller, ‘Nibunan’, starring Arjun Sarja in lead role. Sruthi Hariharan, Prasanna and Varalaxmi played key roles. Arun Vaidyanathan written, co-produced and directed the film. It is 150th film of Arjun. The film released on 21st Sep, 2018.
Ranjith Kalidoss (Arjun) is the deputy superintendent of police and an expert in investigation who never failed in any of his cases. After solving 99 cases and before moving to the desk job, he is challenged with a high-profile case which involves a series of murders. The criminal leaves clues for Ranjith after every murder. Who is the criminal, why he chose to challenge Ranjith and how Ranjith solves the case forms the crux of the story.
The film starts with an interesting premise and the first half is gripping. But the second half slows down with subtracks. The story is clearly inspired by the film Zodiac as there are many elements lifted directly from it. The director is either over-confident or totally ignorant to call the Indian cops as Deputy, Chief and Detective. At some point, it feels like he has written the script for a Hollywood film but made it here without any changes. There are many flaws throughout the film. Arjun works alone with a team of just 2 people with him, the killer roams freely in the city, in spite of cracking the case, the entire second half stretched unnecessarily etc.
The investigation part is interesting from the perspective of regular audience but is heavily cliched. The filmmaker designed the puzzles and riddles with a lot of care. The connections between crimes and the approach of Arjun is interesting. The family of Arjun is just a padding as they have no role in the thriller except being audience to the proceedings. The team appears as a bunch of losers as Arjun finds clues, saves them during missions and investigates alone. The hero elevation doesn’t work in thrillers as there are several other things to consider. The mood and tone of the film spoils several times during the run time.
Arjun is a lifesaver in otherwise cliched investigative thriller. He looks smart and is more energetic than the younger duo Prasanna and Varalaxmi. Prasanna carries his question mark face throughout the film, Varalaxmi poses as the genius. Sruthi Hariharan is decent. Suman and Suhasini appear in crucial roles and their performance is impressive.
The script is weak but the theme is strong. The film would have been a lot better with a proper script. The production values are decent but the film would’ve been better with a higher budget. The cinematography is good and the low light scenes are impressive. The background score is good and elevates the scenes. The editing is crisp and the scenic order is good. The direction is extremely bad and childish. It appears as if the director intentionally spoiled the film with his over-smart approach.
Kurukshetram is a decent crime thriller which impresses the audience in bits and pieces. Overall, it is a onetime watch for the fans of the genre.