Vanayudham directed by AMR Ramesh is a fictitious account of the forest brigand Veerappan’s story. The promos of the movie said, “Untold saga” and “Known story, unknown truth”. The promos and the lines used for that are far more dramatic than the actual movie.
Kishore stars as Veerappan, Arjun as DGP Vijayakumar, Suresh Oberoi as Rajkumar, Ravi Kale as Arjun’s aide Senthamarai Kannan and Sampath Raj has given the voice over in the initial narration. The movie depicts the rise and eventual fall of Veerappan. It had a lot of scope, however all of it has been wasted.
In any story, there needs to be a way to connect with the audience emotionally. In this movie, it is completely ignored and they show Veerappan performing one savage act after another without any reasons. It includes the kidnapping of Rajkumar and his release, kidnapping of former minister Nagappan and subsequently his killing. There is no drama that is built in all of these scenes. Even the scenes with Arjun doesn’t attribute any amount of intelligence or dare-devilry. All the sequences are attributed to the foolishness of the forest brigand in having a go-between who helps the cops reach him so very easily.
Some reasoning around the activities of the brigand, his family, his relationship with the villagers around, his evolution into a feared leader from someone who was helping someone else, his business network etc. would have made this movie all the more watchable. I would even go to the extent of saying that maybe the director should have focused on just one of the episodes and woven a story around that episode.
The good things about the movie are the landscape that they have chosen, there weren’t any song sequences as the narration didn’t need it, the way they deconstructed some of the scenes were done nicely, and attribution of character names to real-life characters who existed during that period. The screenplay was fairly racy, and the actors couldn’t do justice to the not-so-developed roles.
Overall, it doesn’t give you the feel of a movie but more a feel of a documentary film.
Bottom line: If you have time to kill and if it is free, maybe you can give it a shot.