Film Review – Veerappan

verappan_ratingWith ‘Veerappan’, Ram Gopal Varma seems to be back in business after a series of duds. Voltaire’s ‘a society gets the criminal it deserves’ is artfully woven into the film’s introduction even as RGV opens the film of a juvenile delinquent settling down to an avowed life of crime, chronicling 40 years of evils of a depraved criminal in a shade over two hours.

Veerapan’s ill-gotten wealth had come from kidnapping / extortion, elephant poaching besides ivory and sandalwood smuggling. After a few miserable attempts at nabbing the elusive criminal, Operation Cocoon is devised by IPS officer Kannan (Sachiin Joshi), who enlists the help of landlady Priya (Lisa Ray) whose police officer husband was viciously hacked to death by the dreaded criminal. And by taking in Veerapan’s wife Muthulaksmi (Usha Jadhav) as her tenant, Priya is able to pass on vital information to Kannan.

The director’s implication of the bickering between the two neighbouring states Tamil Nadu and Kannada being nullified when the Joint Task Force is set up, ultimately leading to the lawbreaker’s doom on 18 Oct. 2004, is subtly shown.

The casting of Sandeep Bharadwaj, with an uncanny resemblance to Veerapan, was RGV’s ‘pièce de résistance’. Sachiin Joshi, too, gives a superlative performance and in more than a few frames, manages to remind one of Paresh Rawal. Usha Jadhav as the wife does well but Lisa Ray, despite an above par performance, seems to be miscast.

The cinematography of the forest and the inhospitable terrain, especially the aerial shots, complements the locales admirably. The background music is innovative though unbearably loud in a few places.

Where the film seems to have lost ground is RGV having taken the viewer-friendly route of including more action scenes at the expense of showing Veerapan at a personal level. Despite the gory violence, a gripping film!

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