VEERANA (1988) – The Dungeon Review!
In my never-ending quest to seek new cinematic paths I thought it was long past due to delve into the world of Bollywood. Being Goregirl and all I thought I would begin with the Bollywood Horror sub-genre. What makes this a “Bollywood” horror versus just horror? Well, that would be the musical numbers. Not being much of a fan of musicals I wasn’t entirely sure I would enjoy Bollywood Horror. Veerana is by no means a non-stop barrage of musical dance numbers and one in particular works quite well. There is one ditty that goes on far too long but otherwise these interludes were kind of charming, If Veerana is representative of the sub-genre than I can not wait to dig into more! Veerana really is a ton of fun! Thanks to Alex Megaro over at Trash Film for the recommendation!
Veerana’s opening segment is a bona-fide humdinger! We are introduced to the film’s antagonists immediately; The powerful Mahakal, the witch Nakita and Satan’s slave Baba. Nakita kills a man who is later found by the residents of Chandan Village. The residents believe the woods in the area are stalked at night by a witch. The small community is sustained by a sawmill owned by Thakur Mahindra Pratap whose brother Sameer volunteers to seek out the witch and bring her to justice. The witch Nakita is indeed brought to justice and is executed as the villagers look on. This will not be the last the villagers will see of Nakita however. Baba intends to transfer her spirit to Thakur Mahindra Pratap’s daughter Jasmin.
Veerana was directed by brothers Shyam and Tulsi Ramsay who directed several Bollywood Horror films including Bandh Darwaza, Purana Mandir and Tahkhana.
“Behold Mahakal! The master of all who seek evil in this world. Forsaking the virtuous path, they choose the path of evil. They forsake god and seek succor with the devil.”
“Behold Nakita! Her lustful body infused with black magic! To fulfill her evil desires she wanders the black nights of death searching for the light of life.”
“Behold Satan’s Slave! A wizard who practises black magic to ruin innocent lives and bring destruction.”
The residents of Chandan Village find the dead body of an unfortunate stranger travelling through the area.
Jasmin possessed by Nakita wanders the night looking for male victims and occasionally picks them up at gas stations. She agrees to meet the gas station attendant later that evening. “Tonight is your lucky night. Down by the lake…”
Sahila and her cousin Hitchcock are attacked by a big goon sent by Baba to prevent their arrival to the Pratap household. Fortunately for them Hemant is driving by and comes to their aid. They invite Hemant to join them on the trip. Hemant proves to be a real asset.
Veerana’s fantastic opening title sequence had me very excited about what I was about to see. The film is pretty action packed with supernatural shenanigans at regular intervals. The first forty minutes are jammed packed full of goodness! The pace does get a touch muddy for a spell with a segment in a guest house added for humour; it had a chuckle or two but it was unnecessary. With a runtime of two plus hours the film would not have suffered having lost this ten minutes. It picks up quite nicely afterwards and has one hell of an ending too. The performances are decent and the characters are likable enough but Veerana’s best feature is its visuals. It is a really cool looking film with some truly inspired imagery. Beautiful use of color, outstanding sets and props, top-notch effects (Nakita’s makeup is especially noteworthy) and a great score. Veerana is thoroughly entertaining and comes highly recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Shyam and Tulsi Ramsay
Starring: Hemant Birje, Jasmin, Sahila Chaddha, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Satish Shah, Vijayendra Ghatge, Gulshan Grover, Rama Vij, Rajesh Vivek,