VEERAPPAN (2016)

Veerappan (1)Veerappan is a remake of the Kannada film “Killing Veerappan” based on the life and fall of the dreaded brigand who terrorized people and police officials alike in his hay days. Ram Gopal Verma made an interesting film in Killing Veerappan and here he almost entirely re-shoots the film to make it tighter and as I would like to believe rectify some of complaints that I raised for the previous films. The plot for the film remains exactly the same as the Kannada version but there are marginal tweaks here and there which do help the film to be more engrossing and believeable.

To start with, in Killing Veerappan, I had a big problem with the character of Shreya portrayed by Parul Yadav who befriends Veerappan’s wife and Veerappan (1)works as a spy for the STF. She had no reason to take such a huge risk but she did it any ways. Here RGV gives the character of Priya, essayed by Lisa Ray, a reason for her doing what she does by starting the film with the brutal murder of her cop husband. However he is unable to keep her away from the so called interrogations which I felt again was unnecessary and almost damaging. The character of Mutthulaksmi is played by Usha Jadhav who is great in her act. But what RGV saves in giving Lisa Ray’s character a clear reason to do what she does, loses in the manner in which Ray acts and is dubbed. Her dialogs and the manner in which she act feels fake and almost comic. At many junctures she feels like an almost clone of Nargis Fakhri and that’s not a good thing.

Veerappan (2)Sachiin J Joshi can add as many “i” he wants before or after his name but that wouldn’t make him a good actor. There is just no feel for the character for the man. His act is soulless and he has absolutely no screen presence. The fact that he is peppered all over the film only makes the matter worse. Sandeep Bharadwaj is menacing as Veerappan. He carries on his act from the Kannada version and is in fact getting better here. He gave me the hibbijibbies in the first half. In the second half his involvement got meager and meager and that’s where the film started plummeting.

Another huge complain that I had of the Kannada version was its cinematography. RGV has cleaned this film from his head swirling Veerappan (4)angles and uses beautiful dolly shots and great wide takes which puts you in the thick of the action. The camera, though mostly handheld, is steady and lets you suck in the visuals without inducing a headache. He also uses a lot of tracking shots, which though not that long but work great. The compositions are beautiful to look at and I was highly impressed by the way the jungle and its mood is captured. Most of the action happens during the day which proves to be an added advantage. The action sequence that culminates in a waterfall where Veerappan escapes using the water as a cover was my favorite sequence visually. A few CGI elements are off but other than that the visuals remain tout.

Veerappan (3)The film has been edited to an almost two hours runtime which helps the pacing. The background score is good and suits the mood and feel of the plot. RGV shuns truth and actual events at many junctures for theatricality and need for telling a gripping story. I am not complaining! Even though the story and the plot points remain exactly the same including some characters, the film is almost entirely re-shot making it feel fresh and crisp. I would have loved this film more than the Kannada version had two key players in the film not brought it down on its knees through their criminal acts. Sachin and Lisa Ray are reasons this film lands in a pot hole.

With Veerappan, RGV has made somewhat of a recovery. His last few films have been getting better. I feel that with the right actors, his stories will definitely take wings. After all, the best things about films like Shiva, Satya, Company etc were the spellbinding performances.  Veerappan falls short on that department. But it is definitely worth a watch.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

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