Release Date : Feb 14,2013
Vana Yuddham
Review by : Behindwoods Review Board
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Production: AMR Ramesh, Jagadeesh , V Srinivas
Cast: Arjun, Jayachitra, Kishore, Lakshmi Rai, Ravi Kale, Suresh Oberoi, Vijayalakshmi
Direction: AMR Ramesh
Screenplay: A. M. R. Ramesh
Story: A. M. R. Ramesh
Music: Sandeep Chowta
Background score: Sandeep Chowta
Cinematography: Vijay Milton
Editing: Anthony

Director A.M.R.Ramesh is known for his hard-hitting films which are woven around real-life incidents; his previous works like Cyanide are a case in point. For his latest, he has chosen the notorious late forest brigand Veerappan as his subject matter and has presented Vana Yuddham as a tribute to the police force and the governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who worked tirelessly amid a lot of sacrifice and loss of lives.

Even Indians with a fleeting interest in politics would be aware of the circumstances surrounding the death of Veerappan and the exploits of super-cop Vijayakumar IPS, the brain behind ‘Operation Cocoon’. Ramesh has culminated his biopic with this operation as the icing.

The director has also touched upon other aspects of Veerappan’s life like his pious ways, his dabbles with the illegal elephant tusk / sandalwood trade and his much publicized abductions of Kannada superstar Rajkumar and politician Nagappa. The relentless efforts of a number of policemen, their mode of working, their network of informers and their ultimate sacrifice are also part of the director’s spread which has involved a lot of research and attention to detailing.

His effort has been majorly aided by his two main men, Kishore and Arjun, as Veerappan and Vijayakumar IPS respectively. Arjun is fit and smart as always and the actor nails cop roles like none other. Kishore is hairy for a change and the customary Veerappan mustache looks good on him. The menacing actor is the perfect choice, we tend to feel. Suresh Oberoi as Rajkumar is an apt choice too and the actor has imbibed the mannerisms of the Kannada superstar well.

But, the other actors are uninspiring and insipid including Lakshmi Rai in a fleeting role as a journalist. And Vijayalakshmi is nowhere to be seen at all in the final edit. Actor Jayachitra plays the TN CM Jayalalitha who helmed the state during Operation Cocoon and she is actually a nice choice. Sampath Raj as Sethukuli Govindan, one of Veerappan’s main men, has a sizable presence and so does writer Jayabalan in a role which gains prominence in the second half.

Ramesh’s efforts are enhanced even more by the exotic forests and the authentic hilly locations. We are absorbed by the happenings as a result and Vijay Milton, the cinematographer’s expertise behind the lens is also perceivable. The climax scenes are a riveting treat thanks to the ace lensman’s work which involves the usage of a lot of natural lighting.

There aren’t any commercial compromises in the name of song - dance routines, cinematic stunts and larger-than-life buildups. As narrated at the voiceover in the start, the movie is unwavering and achieves its intended goal of being informative as well as being entertaining to a certain extent.

The Kannada to Tamil dubbing leaves a lot to be desired though and there are a lot of sound mutes too which prove to be unsettling. Other than that, Editor Anthony has made sure that the movie moves at a pretty swift pace despite some lulls in the screenplay which is spread over around 125 minutes. Music composer Sandeep Chowta’s background score is loud and the movie could have had a better BGM score given its heavy premise.  

In all, this attempt by the director warrants a watch for its interesting subject matter; the dubbing mishaps may be excused.

Verdict: An authentic and honorable attempt which has turned out as a decent tribute to the achievers concerned.



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