The hunt for Veerappan, a notorious Indian bandit whose heinous deeds stretched a staggering 36 years, is the subject of a four-part documentary on Netflix.
He was infamously referred to as the “lord of the forest,” specializing in kidnapping politicians, dabbling in the fine art of sandalwood smuggling, and poaching elephants. He was also responsible for the deaths of over 100 people throughout the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka region.
The first episode of the series has Muthulakshmi describing her husband Veerappan’s traits: “If someone was devoted to him, he was even willing to give his life, but if someone tried to betray him, he wouldn’t hesitate to kill them.”
What makes this documentary so good is the real timeline with precise facts. It’s always intriguing to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth, and this documentary features a variety of narrators, including police officers, journalists, and insiders of the Veerappan gang. The producers hit the bull’s eye by including Mutulakshmi, the wife of Veerappan, who can provide both the criminal’s perspective and viewpoint. You can see her dearth of remorse in some situations when she claims that what Veerappan did was okay.
The cruelty of Veerappan—who shot, beheaded, chopped off the hands, and then burned P. Srinivas’ body because he wasn’t satisfied—is shown in this documentary, but on the other hand, he was also a tender hearted person who would do anything for his loved ones.
The documentary also highlights the difficulties the governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka encountered in trying to apprehend the wanted criminal Veerappan. In their haste to do so, they violated every human right. This documentary shows how police officers become criminals, particularly Karnataka members led by Shankar Bidari, who built a torture house or a second hell and termed it a “workshop,” where he made captives drink urine, strip naked in front of men, and so on.
The final section explains how Veerappan forged relationships with the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army and other extreme leftist groups in the state, kidnapped Dr. Rajkumar, one of the most well-known actors in the area, made irrational demands on the government to free him. When he reunites with his daughter and experiences change in heart, he just once in the series appears to be a human.
The documentary had all the makings of a big-budget thriller. The plot, photography, and editing will have you riveted for the entire four episodes. It also highlights the contradictory fact that many people revered this person as some deity, who, like a monster ruthlessly murdered numerous innocents.