I was truly curious to watch this film. Memories of crime-thrillers 'Black Mass' and 'Legend' were fresh from this year's (2016) winter and I was expecting to see at least a level of decent treatment for 'Veerappan' from Ram Gopal Verma. I made an exception to my 'no overpriced theaters' rule and watched it in a multiplex. But I was thoroughly disappointed and worse, frustrated with the final product.
To be honest, the film delivers more on comical front than as a crime-thriller-biopic. The story is poorly researched and script writing is completely botched up. Poor, wretched, appalling, F-grade script writing. The famed brigand had a dacoity career spanning more than two decades. I remember hearing several mythical anecdotes about him in my childhood. I remember a myth doing rounds in my school in 1999 that Veerappan copulates with a tigress! And I was a kid situated on the other end of country- in north India! That was Veerappan's stature as a villain. But this film concentrates only on last 6 months of his life - the part which is well documented in digital and print-media- and then too bungles it up. And then they market the film as a 'biopic'. Not too bright folks, not too bright. Indolence of worst kind.
This film is ambiguous whether it is a biopic on Veerappan or an action-thriller portraying police action that killed him. Because, there was another docu-drama "Killing Veerappan" made by the same director which preceded the release of this film. 'Veerappan' itself fails on both fronts, anyway. In the film, Veerappan is shown killing people for no particular reason, that too high-ups. Guys, at least build up a prelude to the gore. That's script-writing 101. Random killings and disjointed action scenes are superimposed by a background score which eulogizes Veerappan's villainy in chaste Hindi (Veer, Veer, Veerappan; Maut Ka Aalingan!). From this movie, an unaware (say foreign) viewer can't decipher whether Veerappan was a Robin Hood or a cold-blooded criminal. In many scenes, Veerappan is shown randomly shooting elephants. Was that some kind of a filler scene to keep audience aware that they are watching a famed villain? It comes off as comical anyway. Looks like the poor guy was a big believer in DIY. There is an on-foot chase scene where the policemen chase a Veerappan aide. The whole sequence is thoroughly comical. The aide shoots random people in his wake to escape the police. It brought memories of villains in Hindi comics! There is another scene where Veerappan's wife is introduced and is shown cooking a meal. She sumptuously throws chillies in her stew and the whole sequence desperately tries to be humorous. Then, within a split second, police arrives out of nowhere and chaos ensues. Lo and behold, police got Veeraapan's wife as soon as she came into picture - cooking a spicy stew full of water. You can even hear the splashing sounds chillies made after they enter the pot! Veerappan certainly had poor culinary tastes as per the movie!
The movie has certain scattered bright spots nonetheless. Sandeep Bharadwaj truly tried to enact the legend and was successful most of the time. He can't help if the script and dialogue writing was third-rate. He, himself, was spot on. Acting by some of the supporting cast was superlative. Krishna Srikanth Iyengar superbly enacts a disgruntled former policeman (Kumar). He brought out a sparkle whenever he entered the frame. I really wished he had more screen time. Usha Jadhav did a remarkable job in enacting a south-Indian woman. Locations for certain scenes were carefully chosen and camera work was ,well, OK.
'The biggest villain ever' deserved a biopic much-much better than this poorly researched, goofy charade of disjointed scenes. If not the level of 'Bandit Queen', 'Donnie Brasco', 'Public Enemies' or 'Goodfellas', Veerappan at least deserved a 'Paan Singh Tomar'. Bollywood truly needs to start treating Indian audience as sensible adults, which they are. Since the 1980s, big-budget mainstream Indian-Cinema (including regional) has been treating Indian audience as passive vacuous receptors of anything and everything. Most Indian movies attest to this. Throw something, make money and run away - that's their mool-mantra. To be honest, I would never recommend the likes of 'Veerappan' to anyone sane. It's another avoidable hit-and-run flick which dutifully does its job in pushing Indian viewers into the eager arms of Hollywood.