Viiking Media And Entertainment’s Veerappan (A) is the story of forest brigand Veerappan who was a terror in the jungles of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. He used to smuggle ivory and sandalwood and was almost impossible to nab. He used to escape from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka when the former state’s police used to chase him and vice versa. The police of the two states finally decided to form a joint force to catch him.

The film narrates the story of how Veerappan (Sandeep Bharadwaj) becomes the dreaded smuggler who lives in the jungles with his group. It traces his marriage to Muthulakshmi (Usha Jadhav) and the police’s various attempts to nab him. In several such encounters, Veerappan and his men kill a number of police officers. Veerappan’s men also die in such face-offs, but Veerappan invariably escapes.

One day, the police succeed in arresting Muthulakshmi and they torture her physically but she refuses to tell them about her husband’s whereabouts. The special police force’s mastermind (Sachin J. Joshi) asks his senior to seek Muthulakshmi’s release as he has a plan to use her to catch Veerappan. The mastermind tells Shreya (Lisa Ray), the widow of a police officer slain by Veerappan, to keep Muthulakshmi as a tenant in her house, win her confidence, extract information about Veerappan from her and keep him (the mastermind) informed. Shreya does as instructed. Just when the police force thinks, it will nab Veerappan, he doesn’t turn up at the appointed place – as instructed by his wife – and instead, sends her a message that her landlady is a police informer. Veerappan asks Muthulakshmi to shift to a new house but she is so impressed by Shreya that she doesn’t believe that Shreya could be a police informer.

The police force now thinks up another plan. How it ultimately tricks Veerappan and kills him is revealed in the climax.

R.D. Tailang’s story about Veerappan is borrowed from his life and is interesting. Of course, the film’s story, obviously, does not have ingredients like love, romance, comedy and emotions. The abundant action, that too gruesome, would keep the ladies and family audience away. R.D. Tailang’s screenplay is fairly interesting. But there are a couple of problems. For one, everything seems very easy and convenient for Veerappan. Secondly, there isn’t much heroism shown on the part of the police force. Thirdly, the mastermind in the special police force only talks of his plans – first plan, second plan etc. – but no details of the plans are discussed. Resultantly, the audience doesn’t feel involved in the drama. Since each plan only unfolds but is never revealed to the audience beforehand, the viewer does not get the feeling that he is part of the plan of the hero.

The first half is fairly interesting but the face-offs and confrontations become repetitive after a point of time in the second half. If, for some reason, the terror of Veerappan doesn’t send shivers down the spines of the viewers, the heroism of the mastermind also does not evoke claps at regular intervals.

Dialogues (by R.D Tailang, with additional dialogues by Jai Priyadarshi) are quite good. But it must be added here that the film becomes too verbose after a while.

Sandeep Bharadwaj’s get-up in the title role is very good. His acting is quite nice. Sachin J. Joshi is alright as the mastermind police officer. Lisa Ray is reasonably impressive as Shreya. Usha Jadhav is very natural as Muthulakshmi. Chetanya Adib (as cop Shashi), Raj Singh Arora (as Gopal), Sunit Razdan (as Bhupi), Dr. Krishna Shrikant Iyengar (as ex-cop Kumar), Vineet Sharma (as Shreya’s slain husband, cop Dinesh), Naveen Prabhakar (as Rajan), Akash Sinha (as Govindan), Shaneel Sinha (as Gandhi), Raj Premi (as Madhani) and Sardar Satya (as Aniz) lend able support.

Ram Gopal Varma’s direction is quite nice. But he seems to have made the film for just the masses, what with the violence being so gruesome and other ingredients like comedy, hit songs and the like being completely absent so that the womenfolk, family audiences and classes would not identify with the drama. Sharib-Toshi and Jeet Ganguli’s music is functional, and the lyrics (by Manoj Yadav and Manoj Muntashir) also don’t stand out. John Stewart Eduri’s background music is effective but too loud and overbearing. Aniket Khandagale’s cinematography is of a good standard. Allan Amin’s action is raw and effective but it is also what will keep the womenfolk, families and classes away from the cinemas. Pratik Vijay Redij’s production designing is okay. Anwar Ali’s editing is reasonably alright.

On the whole, Veerappan is an ordinary fare which will not be able to score much at the box-office. It will do well in single-screen cinemas of centres where action fares are liked.

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