Movie review – Veerappan – Works well as a thriller

Movie review – Veerappan – Works well as a thriller
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By Joginder Tuteja

Rating: ***

Veerappan’s status as a ruthless killer is well known. It is also known that he was eventually killed in a police encounter. What is not known is everything that happened in between, especially in the months leading to the killing. Ram Gopal Varma picks up the mantle to tell that story. He spins a thriller around the whole affair and peppers it with ton loads of action. In the middle of this all, he also brings on a couple of ladies who have a story of their own. The end result is largely satisfactory and though one does feel that the film could have been 20 minutes shorter, a well paced second half keeps you well engaged in the proceedings.

The film opens with quite a few killings. In fact it is all so gory that it is difficult to keep eyes open at many a point. You are reminded of similar such killings that were seen in RGV’s Rakht Charitra a few years ago. While it is well established that Veerappan (Sandeep Bharadwaj) is indeed a criminal who deserves to be eliminated, audience is also introduced to the STF officer (Sachiin Joshi) who is planning his own plot alongside Lisa Ray (wife of another slain officer) who is looking for revenge. Meanwhile, Veerappan’s wife (Usha Jadhav) is introduced into the scene as well.

However, what could have been perhaps quick 10-15 minutes affair actually ends up absorbing almost the entire middle portion of the second half. The series of scenes between Lisa and Usha take endless proportion and the fact that Lisa is way too patchy as an actress doesn’t help the cause much. Moreover, the whole ‘hidden cameras’ angle on which there is so much emphasis doesn’t even lead to anything substantial whatsoever. Frankly, you wish to see Veerappan and the STF in action, and this is the reason why the interval sequence – though quite long – brings the film well on track. It is shot marvellously and one can well imagine the logistical hassle it must have been for RGV and his team to shoot an action sequence in the middle of waterfalls.

The second half is much better though as the master plan involving many other players is laid down. Introduction of a suspended officer, a terrorist group member, a handler and a businessman is well integrated into the plot with Sachiin leading the show. In fact you also end up catching Veerappan in a few vulnerable moments, especially the ones where he is shown to be hero worshipping LTTE Chief Prabhakaran. It is good to see RGV taking names right from Rajkumar to Rajinikanth to Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi, hence calling a spade a spade.

Oh yes, along with this all, the film would have been helped by some more solid performances. Sandeep is good though one does feel that in this Gabbar-isque role, someone like Amjad Khan on his debut would have been even more powerful. While Sachiin comes with his best act till date and the actor playing his senior officer is good too, the add-on characters could have done better than being quintessential RGV brand of characters. At times, they border on being funny, hence diluting the seriousness of affairs.

Nonetheless, it is the last 20 minutes that are all the more remarkable as Sachiin chooses his spot for the ambush and leads Veerappan there. This is the best part of the film, followed by the one in the rocky terrain where a big action sequence unfolds after the interval point. Just that very sequence which is powered by drone aerial shots warrants a big screen watch for the film.

While RGV has done better in the past (his Shiva, Satya and Company still hold amongst his best), it is good to see him doing much better than his last Hindi release Satya 2. And yes, he has also gone easy on the camera work, especially when it comes to the close up shots.

Worth a watch!

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