Art & Entertainment

'Koose Munisamy Veerappan' On Zee5 Review: Balanced Retelling Of The Infamous Dacoit's Life

A new docu-series on Zee5 aims to tell the life of the famed Koose Munisamy Veerappan. How different is it from the other works that have talked about the man before? Is it worth watching? Read the full docu-series review to find out.

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A still from 'Koose Muniswamy Veerappan'
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Even years after Koose Munisamy Veerappan’s demise, the famed bandit has continued to be a contested figure. While some people view him as a rebel and revolutionary, others cannot look past the fact that his gang killed police officers, animals, and civilians. Whatever or rather whoever wronged Veerappan was bound to meet his fate. The intrigue and the curiosity behind this man isn’t new. Numerous works have explored his life in great detail. But ‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’ on ZEE5 still manages to stand out from the rest. The true-crime docu-series is now streaming on ZEE5 and here is all that you need to know about it.

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‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’: Story

The docu-series is a retelling of Veerappan’s life based on the multiple footages that were collected by the Tamil investigative magazine, ‘Nakheeran.’ In the 90s, Veerappan gave a series of video interviews to Nakheeran Gopal when he was living in the forests. The docu-series has used these footage to sew a complete timeline of his life. There are videos where the man tells the audience which event in his life made him choose this path, how he moved from poaching elephant tusks to smuggling sandalwood logs, confessions of various attacks and killings, and even moments where he recreates the shooting for the magazine. To see the man talk about his actions (and sometimes revel) in them forms a major chunk of ‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’.

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‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’: Performances

As a docu-series, ‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’ has taken the liberty to recreate the scenes as told by Veerappan himself. With Veerappan, locals, officials, advocates, and journalists as their source material, the scenes have been recreated with utmost skill. At no point in the docu-series does the recreation feel garish or look like a TV news recreation of a crime scene, it has been kept as true as possible without any exaggeration.

The scenes depict violence but none of them make you feel over the top. It takes you back to the era when this had happened. The supporting cast that has been a part of this recreation has performed without any frills – they get straight to the chase. Special mention needs to be given to the scenes that have recreated police brutality. They will send a chill down your spine but that is the exact purpose of dedicating an entire episode to tell this aspect as well. It is supposed to make you feel the pain and the plight of the innocent people who were caught in turmoil.

‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Earlier this year, Netflix had also released a docu-series on Veerappan. Titled, ‘The Hunt for Veerappan,’ it followed the life of Veerappan and told the same story about how the man became so popular and so infamous. This documentary ran the risk of telling the same tale on a different OTT platform. But what sets this documentary apart is the heavy reliance on Veerappan’s interviews. Initially, even I had the feeling that this docu-series would be a neat copy-paste job of the former but as the episodes progressed, it was evident that this retelling is quite different.

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What works in favour of this docu-series is how nuanced yet well-balanced it is. On one hand, if there is a footage of Veerappan talking candidly about his exploits, on the other, there also is a footage that talks about how the people who were not a part of his gang were affected. Innocent people were torn between the infamous Veerappan and his rage and the powers bestowed by the state on the police. It also talks about how the police and even politicians were siding with Veerappan. 

In the vein of this juxtaposition, there are also sequences where what Veerappan has said is corroborated with what the locals have to say about it in present times. For example, there is a scene where Veerappan talks about an official who would take the goats from the villagers for his feast. Just in the next moment, a local goat-herder from the village tells the story from his point of view and that helps you build a clear picture. While the people who were his allies talk about him as if he were a powerful being, on the other hand, the people who faced his wrath also talk about how their lives have been marred by the incidents.

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The docu-series does an excellent job of walking the tightrope between glorifying the man and telling the story as it is. This needs to be credited to the crisp editing by Ram Pandian and the writing by Jeyachandra Hashmi, Sharath Jothi, and Vasanth Balakrishnan. The music by Satish Raghunathan does not overpower the story, it aids in helping it move forward and that’s the beauty of it.

‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’: Cast & Crew

Director: Sharath Jothi

Cast: Mahe Thangam, Nakkeeran Gopal, Pa Pa Mohan, DGP Retd. Alexander IPS, N. Ram, Seeman, Jeeva Thangavel, Rohini

Available On: ZEE5

Duration: 6 episodes, 4 hours 16 minutes

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‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’: Can Kids Watch It?

No

Outlook’s Verdict

‘Koose Munisamy Veerappan’ is one of the finest retelling of the life of Veerappan. It keeps you hooked through and through. The interspersing of the actual videos, photos, and audio keeps the element of reality intact without making it look like a fictional series. Even if you thought, you knew all about Veerappan, you should give this a watch to see how it continues to affect people even today. I am going with 3.5 stars.

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