Is he back? Has he finally found his mojo? Veerappan, it seems, is more about Ram Gopal Varma rather than the dreaded mustachioed dacoit of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu jungles. Never before was a director so talked about more than his movie or subject. Few dialogues from his films can sum up the film better:
“Mein jagah se nahin dimag se kaam karta hoon”
To begin with, RGV had never left filmmaking and was quite active in Telugu film industry, and of course on Twitter. In fact, you ‘Mohen Jo Daro’ can mark the comeback of Asutosh Gowarikar, who made his last outing with ‘Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se’ in 2010 (Yup, such film does exist, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone), while RGV made his last Hindi film in 2013 – The Attacks of 26/11. So this ‘comeback’ and ‘getting the mojo’ back actually makes no sense. RGV isn’t a Karisma Kapoor.
“Mauka sabhi ko milta hai”
A gripping narrative written by R.D. Tailang and engaging cinematography Aniket Khandagale ensures that Veerappan keeps you hooked to the screen right through its 125-minute duration. It won’t be wrong to say that Veerappan is a sequel of Ram Gopal Varma’s much kosher version of the jungle dacoit played by Sushant Singh in Jungle (2000) starring Fardeen Khan and Urmila Matondkar. This film gives the director a chance to add the much-needed reality to Veerappan and completely focus on the killing of Veerappan. The scenes like ‘alleged’ killing of Veerappan’s infant daughter and the waterfall chase sequence leave a deep impact on the viewers, which was clearly evident by those ‘tssk!’ expressions among the audience.
“Jiske paas power hai … uska wrong bhi right ho jaata hai”
Sandeep Bhardwaj as Veerappan is a classic example of perfect casting, where the actor soaks in his character to such levels that you’d believe he was born to play Veerappan. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, Sandeep Bhardwaj’s Veerappan recreates the terror of Amjad Khan in Sholay (Dare you evoke those Aag memories!).
The other actor who makes a mark is Usha Jhadav as Veerappan’s wife. She approaches her role with such restrained histrionics that reminds one of Seema Biswas. Such powerful are the performances of these two actors that you’re willing to overlook the weaker links of the ensemble.
“Hamare dhande mein ek galati ko maaf karna … usse bhi badi galati hai”
The only ‘galati’ that RGV makes here is casting his producer, Sachin Joshi and Lisa Ray. One couldn’t help imagining Abhimanyu Singh of Gulaal to play role of such eminence, which is completely wasted by Sachin Joshi. For instance, the interrogation scene after the interval and his interactions with his senior officer Nissar Khan (Makes his presences felt despite the brief role).
Lisa Ray seems to be acting in a horror flick, wearing a ‘What am I doing here?’ kind of expression. One of the pivotal roles of the film, which should have added an emotional layer in the film, ends up becoming unintentional comic relief. Badi galati, indeed.
“Har insaan ke andar ek rakshash hota hai … bas kuch log usse bahar nikaalne se darte nahi”
In a recent interview, Ram Gopal Varma stated that criminal minds fascinate him, citing an example that how a person breaking the traffic signal appeals more to him than those adhering to the traffic laws. This fascination for criminal mind comes to the fore with Veerappan. The film acquaints you to the mind of Veerappan, who was as ambitious as any other executive or corporate giant. Evil exists in everyone, even in the protagonist played by Sachin Joshi, who doesn’t bat an eyelid before breaking the law, just to kill the ‘Rakshas’ of the forest.
“Tumhara good bhi achcha … bad bhi achcha”
There are two extremes of every Ram Gopal Varma film, they’re either good or bad. You can either expect a Shiva, Satya, Rangeela, Bhoot, Daud, Company, Sarkar, Naach, Jungle, Mast, Phoonk, Nishabd, Darna Zaroori Hai, Rakta Charitra from him or Agyaat, Darling, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, Phoonk 2, Bhoot Returns, Satya-2, or Department.
Mumbai ka king kaun…?
There’s no in-between zone for this maverick filmmaker. Veerappan, in all its wild glory, surely belongs to the ‘good’ section. We know RGV jagah se nahi dimaag se kaam karta hai, but Veerappan is undoubtedly a befitting reboot for him in Hindi films. Welcome back, sir.