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!
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:07:35Veerana’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.
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:26:58Veerana was directed by brothers Shyam and Tulsi Ramsay who directed several Bollywood Horror films including Bandh Darwaza, Purana Mandir and Tahkhana.
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:09:30“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.”
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:11:23“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.”
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:11:41“Behold Satan’s Slave! A wizard who practises black magic to ruin innocent lives and bring destruction.”
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:13:29“Hail Mahakal!”
Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:29:43The residents of Chandan Village find the dead body of an unfortunate stranger travelling through the area.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:32:39Nakita’s digs.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:34:12Sameer lures the seductive Nakita into the tub. “I want to explore every inch of you.”

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:36:12Baba is a servant of the Pratap household. Thakur believing Baba saved his daughter Jasmin’s life makes him her guardian. Little do they know that Baba is also a servant of Satan!

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:38:34A ten-year old Jasmin is possessed by the evil spirit of Nakita.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:44:07Jasmin stares at a picture of her Uncle Sameer and causes it to bleed.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:47:35Jasmin is definitely not feeling like herself today! “Today you shall die!”

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:56:55Jasmin all grown up and still not feeling like herself. “Get away from here!”

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 17:59:18Nakita shows herself.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:07:21Jasmin 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…”

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:09:56A little musical interlude “Beloved where are you?”

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:12:18Once again men are being found dead in Chandan Village. “Sir, your daughter is linked with these deaths.”

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:15:36Sahila was sent away as a child after the death of her parents. She has come to stay with her Uncle Thakur and cousin Jasmin.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:17:52The psychiatrist hypnotizes Jasmin.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:21:10Sahila 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.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:25:35Mighty Mahakal!

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 18:29:06Sahila looks on from behind a web in Nakita’s lair.

Screenshot from 2013-06-22 19:24:29

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,

12 Responses to “VEERANA (1988) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. I’m also way past due on delving into Bollywood, and this one looks like a ton of fun!

  2. I haven’t seen this, but it’s now on my list. As for your musical aversion… if you haven’t see it, The Red Shoes comes recommended quite highly (Michael Powell’s movies are just incredible)…

    and DEFINITELY seek out some of the Asian musical/fantasy flicks that combine some amazing practical effects, awesome stunts and yep, musical numbers that will make you crack up until you fall off what you’re sitting on. Titles escape my fevered brain at the moment… research time! Well, later, as I need to complete a review myself…

    • goregirl Says:

      I am not exactly in a huge hurry to check out more musicals but I sure do love Powell’s Peeping Tom… Black Narcissus also. I will definitely have to check out Red Shoes one of these days soon.

      • TRS is a great counterpoint to Aronofsky’s BLACK SWAN (as it’s more a film about ballet than an actual musical and yup, you’ll see influences) and it’s actually quite grim. I wasn’t interested in it for a while until I saw the ending one day, found out what it was and who made it and *ding* I made sure to check it out the next time it ran.

  3. I too have seen just a few Bollywood Horror. This one is now on my list!

  4. […] “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’s 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.” Goregirl’s Dungeon […]

  5. Great review, I have never heard of Bollywood Horror before! VEERANA is going straight on my “watch later” list.

    • goregirl Says:

      Veerana is lotsa fun…I will definitely be seeing more Bollywood horror in the immediate future.

  6. Holy crap… your timing on this is incredible. I’m looking for Indian horror, and even mention it in the article I wrote for Friday. Anyway, I just added this and it’s toward the top of my queue now.

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