Forest brigand Veerappan may be long dead and much forgotten but his life saga has inspired south Indian filmmaker A.M. R. Ramesh to bring alive his story on celluloid. Ramesh promises to reveal to viewers how exactly the elusive brigand was eventually killed.
This bilingual, titled, ‘Attahasa,’ in Kannada and ‘Vana Yudham,’ in Tamil features Kannada actor Kishore as Veerappan. It has been dubbed into Telegu as ‘Veerappan.’
For Ramesh it involved eleven years of research during which time he met and interviewed more than two hundred people who had been closely associated with Veerappan.
“I also interacted with several IAS and police officers,” said Ramesh over telephone from Bangalore.
The film was shot in 99 real locations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
“All the characters in my story are real, there are no fake names assigned to them,” continued Ramesh, whose earlier film, ‘Cyanide,’ in Kannada, traced the assassination of late Rajiv Gandhi and was critically acclaimed winning the Karnataka state award too.
Making the story authentic are people from Veerappan’s life essaying roles in this story.
“Like Veerappan’s companions who had been a part of the much publicized kidnapping of late Kannada actor, Dr. Rajkumar. Also playing himself is Nagappan, assistant of Dr. Rajkumar. He had been kidnapped too in that incident.”
Shooting in tough was a major challenge, says Ramesh, a gold medallist from Chennai Film Institute.
“No wonder Veerappan eluded the police for 36 years.”
Road blocks in the form of legal hurdles came his way, when journalist Nakeeran Gopal sought an injunction from court against the film’s release.
Then there was an appeal in court by Muthulakshmi, Veerappan’s wife restraining the film’s release.
However, after watching the film, Gopal withdrew the case.
“Nakeeran Gopal hugged me and told me, “I did not know many things about Veerappan until now.’
Muthulakshmi was appeased with three cuts to the story.
“My story will show exactly how Veerappan was killed,” promised Ramesh.
Other cast members are Arjun Sarja as DGP K. Vijayakumar, Vijayalakshmi as Muthulakshmi and Bollywood actor Suresh Oberoi as Dr. Rajkumar. Music is scored by Sandeep Chowta. Cinematography is by Vijay Milton.