The team has already shot for 75 days in the forests of Karnataka with actor Kishore reprising his role as Veerappan
If there is one person that filmmaker AMR Ramesh is obsessed with, it’s got to be slain forest brigand Veerappan. Right from the time Veerappan kidnapped Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar, Ramesh has been heavily invested in researching the former’s rise and subsequent fall. So much so that despite much opposition from the late Veerappan’s wife Muthulakshmi, he went ahead and made a Kannada-Tamil bilingual Attahasa/Vanayudham, to chronicle the events leading to the forest brigand’s slaying in a police encounter. The film had Kishore playing Veerappan, a role he is currently reprising for Ramesh’s latest pet project, a web series called Veerappan: Hunger For Killing.
OTTplay caught up with Ramesh to find out the latest on the project…
Why are you revisiting Veerappan as a subject?
Telling the story of Veerappan in a two-and-a-half-hour movie was severely limiting. There is just so much information about how he became to be known as a feared sandalwood smuggler, the circumstances behind the 125-odd murders he and his associates committed, the police investigations and operations by forces from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to nab him and, of course, the infamous Rajkumar kidnapping, which made national headlines. It was impossible to contain all of that in the film, which is why I have been toying with the idea of a longer format version. A web series for an OTT platform is the best bet to showcase a straightforward unbiased account of what transpired. What’s helped is that the Human Rights Commission investigations into the torture allegations levelled by Veerappan’s wife Muthulakshmi against several top cops has drawn to a conclusion, which gives me more freedom to tell people what happened.
So, what’s the plan for the series?
I am producing it as a five-language series in Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. It will be a two-part, 20-episode long show that explores nearly 25 years of Veerappan’s life. We have already shot for about 75 days in real locations in the forests of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Our next schedule is for about 40 days in early October, which should complete the first part, or 10 episodes. Most of the cast from Attahasa, like Kishore as Veerappan and Suresh Oberoi as Rajkumar, for instance, are back onboard. Suniel Shetty will join us in the next schedule. We are also looking at getting Viveik Oberoi for a pivotal role. Once the first part is locked, we will look at an OTT partner to stream it. Discussions are on with a few players, but a decision can be made only once I am able to show them a few episodes.
But that may not be very easy, considering that Muthulakshmi has filed an injunction order against exhibiting the show…
Well, it’s a repeat of what she did during the release of Attahasa as well. That case went all the way to the Supreme Court and we eventually paid her Rs 25 lakh as compensation, after which we released the film. I am hopeful of an amicable resolution this time too, considering that it will take us at least 3-4 months of shooting to finish the first part.