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Veeram Kannada film review: Prajwal Devaraj runs riot in this impossible action drama

Prajwal Devaraj is joined by Rachita Ram, Srinagara Kitty, Shruti and Achyuth Kumar in the central cast with Kumar Raj writing and directing the picture

2/5rating
Veeram Kannada film review: Prajwal Devaraj runs riot in this impossible action drama
A still from Veeram
  • Swaroop Kodur

Last Updated: 08.15 AM, Apr 12, 2023

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Story:

Narasimha, a hot-headed young man, gets embroiled in crime, much to the disappointment of his sister who has raised him. Her only hope remains their promising younger brother Veeru but when things go awry in Narasimha's case, Veeru is forced to take his place and embrace a life of violence and danger. Can Veeru extract himself from this world and win back the love and affection of his family? Or has he gone too deep that it is a point of no return?

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Review:

Veeram is what I needed to survive Kumar Raj's latest film, an action drama that first tests our patience and punishes us later for showing endurance. Running at a length of over 2 hours and 40 minutes, the Prajwal Devaraj and Rachita Ram starrer is yet another over-the-top "mass" vehicle that brims with so many done-to-death conventions and tropes that you could all the slo-mo sequences in the film for a fun little drinking game. There is also a truckload of bad guys in Veeram and each of them mouths the most outrageous rhyming lines which could put the most skilful rapper to shame.

It's a pity that a film employs a talented central cast and even offers them a semblance of a story but refuses to utilize either of them to save a life. Characters come and go without any purpose but the leading man of the film remains where he is, caught in a perpetual loop that has him first fight the villains, regret it soon after and then fight them again. Prajwal Devaraj, in all fairness, is an actor who deserves to be part of better films and while he tries his level best to elevate this subpar material, there is very little he can do when the film decides to remain stuck in an old rut. And yet, he and his co-stars Shruti, Achyuth Kumar and Sringara Kitty somehow salvage the film from being a total trainwreck and leave us at least a few moments to savour.

Rachita Ram, another starring name in her own right, unfortunately, has very little bearing on the story and is grossly limited to being the 'girlfriend' archetype that has been of innumerable South Indian films. Her character in Kranti, too, endured a similar fate and perhaps it is high time for the actress to steer clear of roles that box her in so mercilessly.

Another irksome aspect of Veeram is the incessant and quite needless callback to the late acting legend Dr. Vishnuvardhan. We learn quite early on in the film that Veeru, the character played by Prajwal, is a massive Dada fan and endearingly, as he himself shares, Vishnuvardhan is the link that strongly connects him and his sister (played by Shruti) - Veeru even has the face of the Naagarahaavu actor tattooed on his right wrist. But, in an attempt to entice the audience and evoke mass moments in them, the director foregoes both subtlety and charm and brings up the late actor at every given juncture - so much so, that the small audience surrounding gave up on cheering and hooting after the third or the fourth iteration.

The villains of Veeram deserve a special mention - not because of the value they add to the story but just because there are SO MANY of them in the film. Each has at least a dozen cringe-worthy lines to his name and what's more appalling than anything else is the ease with which they all slip in words like 'rape' and 'abortion'. Should films continue to be censored by a dedicated body, the filmmakers behind them must be held punishable for this kind of apathetic and nonsensical writing.

Is there anything redeemable about Veeram? Well, yeah, but it's a hard yes. Despite all the above-mentioned shortcomings and more that remain undiscussed, Veeram isn't a badly executed film in terms of cinematography and editing. The same slo-mo sequences, though they are way too many of them, are carried out with precision and care and these standards, luckily, remain high throughout. The editor can never be blamed for the length of a film and Ravichandran (Veeram's editor) does a fine job of navigating the mess. J. Anoop Seelin's background score is quite eclectic and perhaps the only highlight of the film.

Verdict:

It isn't to say that there is nothing credible about Veeram. The film, to its credit, tries to tell us a kind of coming-of-age story that blends family sentiments and over-the-top violence but it's the illegible intent of the director that yields to the cacophony. Barring a few certain sequences that show some glimmer of hope of coherence, Veeram is unendurable and the excruciatingly lengthy runtime makes it only worse. It is tough to recommend a film that has very little to boast about but should you feel compelled to pay a customary visit to a cinema hall, then you may proceed towards this with caution

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