Veerappan was India’s original bad man. For 20 years, he terrorized the jungles of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. His manhunt is estimated to have cost the Indian government over Rs 700 crore. Which makes him the perfect subject for director Ram Gopal Varma whose central obsessions include larger-than-life outlaws, guns and jungles. 

As Ramu tells it – Veerappan was a rakshasa

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“In the first five minutes of the film, he smashes a policeman to death with a boulder. What Ramu gets absolutely right here is the casting of Veerappan. Sandeep Bharadwaj, a theater actor from New Delhi, becomes this demonic criminal. With bulging, crazed eyes, that trademark moustache, and an unquenchable rage in his eyes, Sandeep is entirely convincing,” Anupama Chopra says on the selection of characters. 

It’s an elaborate cat and mouse game and for stretches of it, Ramu holds your interest. But ultimately what fails him is the writing – the chase becomes repetitive. 

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“Veerappan may not match the best of Ramu – Rangeela, Satya, Sarkar, Company – but the good news is that it doesn’t match his worst either – there are too many to name,” she signed off and gave it two and a half stars. 

Watch her review right here:

Nevertheless she did say that it might be the curtain raiser on better films to come.