After having been shelved for what seemed like an eternity, the film has finally seen light. Having been released alongside the verdict of denial of plea by his associates, this movie based on the life-history of Veerappan is an offbeat attempt. Given that the story is based on a menacing dacoit who defied three state governments, it held a lot of expectations on the screenplay. But the problem with the story line is the confusion whether to portray Veerappan as a ruthless rogue or highlight his personal life in bright light.
All facts are in place - he poached elephants, smuggled ivory, chopped down sandal trees and smuggled the sandalwood, that he flourished with the support of forest officers, and also that he kidnapped Dr. Rajkumar for money. But so many facts lining up back-to-back, the movie comes across as an extra long news article of inside dope, instead of being a thriller. However, the second half brings us some adventure, with the introduction of Arjun as D.G.P. Vijay Kumar. The suspense involved in hunting down the dacoit, the agenda followed by the police force, their propaganda and execution of plans have been detailed out. This aspect makes of the movie makes it catchy and interesting.
The casting of Kishore as Veerappan is apt, as he justifies his role in terms of appearance and demeanour. But justice ends there. There is not much to write home about, with regard to his on-screen performance. Those cast as his allies are also not particularly exceptional. But the cast of Arjun as the D.G.P. is certainly worth mentioning, as his air is precise for the role.
Simple and uncomplicated dialogues, framed by Ajayan Bala, are appealing. Vijay Milton's cinematography is classic, especially in the aerial shots covering the forest region and also in the climax. Music has been done by Sandeep Chowta, but it is rather unsatisfactory.
This idiosyncratic story is the brain child of AMR Ramesh, who is also the director of the film. But it lacks balance, since pictorialization of the character of Veerappan does not seem to have been decided with stability. He was neither portrayed completely as a rogue, nor noble, nor was their enough details on his personal life and emotion. This ends up making the film look like a documentary. The way the film picks up pace in the second half is mainly attributed to the role of Arjun. The involvement of the state's Chief Minister on the issue and related interactions with the D.G.P. make the second half impressive.
The movie in Tamil has crossed many hurdles including ample censor cuts and oppositions from Veerappan's wife as well as from the state government. It is the Kannada version of the movie, 'Attahasa', that is said to be the product of truly independent ideas of the director. With regard to the Tamil version, it seems only like a journalist's footage.