AMR Ramesh loves to make controversial films based on real life incidents and characters. After making a film Kuppi on Rajiv Gandhi assassination, Ramesh is this time digging into Veerappan’s last days in Vana Yuddham.
It is a bio-pic on the rise and fall of forest brigand Veerappan responsible for the death of many police and forest officials and poaching over 200 elephants. He was the most wanted man in two states Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where he operated for nearly two decades.
Ramesh is on very sensitive territory as he had to please the police and politicians in two states. Added to that, Veerappan’s wife before release of the film objected to her portrayal in the film and took him to court. So he had to delete all scenes of Veerappan’s love life with his wife Muthulakshmi.
In short Vana Yuddham is a compromise film, which had been trimmed to get that U certificate and Tamil Nadu government entertainment tax exemption. The first half of the film is about the rise of Veerappan (Kishore) as a notorious forest brigand and the way he systematically eliminated police and forest officials who stood in his way. The events are told in a documentary style and also by using actual television clippings.
The second half of the film is how Tamil Nadu Special Task Force headed by IG Vijay Kumar (Arjun) using tact and cunningness kills the notorious brigand. The post-interval film moves at a much faster pace and the climax is stunning, as much is not known about his death.
Technically Vijay Milton’s camera, Antony’s fast paced editing and Sandeep Chowtha’s background score are the highlights of the film. The director has been able to shoot in actual locations, which makes it interesting. However the forced deletion of scenes sticks out like a sore thumb. There are no female characters in the film except Lakshmi Rai who makes a wink-you-will-miss appearance as a TV anchor. Vijayalakshmi ‘s scenes including Veerappan’s marriage to her has been totally deleted
On the whole Vana Yuddham has a documentary feel to it. Still worth a look thanks to the performances of Arjun and Kishore.
Verdict – OK