The film also stars Suniel Shetty as Shankar Bidri and Suresh Oberoi as Dr Rajkumar
All eyes are on AMR Ramesh’s Veerappan – Hunger for Killing. The ambitious project will have a pan-Indian release as a four-part film or a web series. As the title suggests, Veerappan – Hunger for Killing tells the story of the forest brigand and the efforts of the Special Task Force to nab him.
Ramesh also directed Attahasa, which was based on Veerappan too. Kishore played the lead in a cast that included Arjun Sarja, Lakshmi Rai and Suchendra Prasad.
Ramesh’s films are always based on fact; he rarely dabbles in fiction. Known as a film maker with a passion for being investigative, he is described by friends and colleagues as a filmmaker who “never lets his heart rule his head when it comes to filmmaking.”
Ramesh talks to MetroPlus about his dream project, the research that went into the making and more.
Why have you made another film Veerappan after Attahasa?
What I failed to narrate in Attahasa is being fulfilled in Veerappan-Hunger for Killing. While Attahasa was a two-hour film, Veerappan… will either be released as a four-part film or as a web series. We have 12 hours of content and are open to both options. The film is being shot simultaneously in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.
This film revolves revolves around Veerappan — the police struggles to nab him. It talks of their sacrifices, hopes and struggles.
Is the story based on facts or is it a work of a fiction?
No fiction at all. The characters are based on real people. The story is built on facts, which I wrote after 15 years of research. I always write my stories and screenplay and they are all based on reality.
You have just completed the first schedule of the shoot…
Yes. We are shooting in real locations. We shot in dense forests but with a limited staff. That was a huge challenge.
Could you tell us about casting Suniel Shetty?
Suniel Shetty plays Shankar Bidri, the man, who, between 1993 and 1996, was instrumental in bringing the number of Veerappan’s gang from 180 to eight. During Bidri’s term, Veerappan went underground and surfaced after he was out of the picture.
Suresh Oberoi plays Dr Rajkumar, Kishore plays Veerappan again while Suchendra Prasad plays the DFO Sreenivas, an honest man who went the extra mile to conserve the forest and was beheaded by Veerappan. We are trying to bring Vivek Oberoi on board too.
How difficult or easy is it to represent reality on screen?
Well, sticking to the truth without taking any creative liberties has always been a challenge. I seem to have a leaning towards making such films.
Could you explain your fascination for Veerappan?
I will not call it a fascination. It is a curiosity for the truth. It is also because I was closely associated with one of his kidnappings cases. When Veerappan kidnapped Dr Rajumar, I was one of the first people to go into the forest. Nagappa, who was abducted with Dr Raj, is a close associate.
I describe this film as put together from an investigative journalist’s point of view. We will not be taking sides, nor will we pass judgement. We are not in a hurry to complete it, as we want the best visuals and content for a global audience.
Are you working on anything else?
Yes, I am also working on LTTE, which tells the story of Prabhakaran. I worked on this script for almost 25 years, but have stalled it for the moment. LTTE will be a 100-hour story. This will be released on an OTT platform and covers the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.