Film: "Attahasa"; Actors: Kishore, Arjun Sarja, Ravi Kale, C.P.Yogeshwar, Lakshmi Rai, Suresh Oberoi and Vijayalakshmi; Producer-Director: A.M.R.Ramesh; Camera: Milton; Background Music: Sandeep Chowta; Editor: Anthony; Rating: **1/2
A.M.R.Ramesh is known for making films based on real life incidents, which have also been widely covered in the media. His earlier film "Cyanide" was based on the incidents that led to the death of Sri Lankan militants who had come to Bangalore after the assasination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. "Attahasa" is a film based on the life and times of forest brigand Veerappan and his death.
The film faced many legal hurdles with Veerappan's wife Muthulakshmi going to court alleging that the film is based not on facts, but some imaginary sequences created by the director.
The movie has released after crossing all hurdles.
"Attahasa" is technically brilliant, though you may also feel that the editor could have chopped off some unnecessary sequences. Despite its length of nearly 170 minutes, the film is engaging. The efforts of the entire team is seen on the screen as the unit seems to have gone to the terrains which were frequented by Veerappan's gang.
"Attahasa" created a lot of curiosity before its release as fans would have thought that the film will be a true reflection of the incidents. But director A.M.R. Ramesh has failed to give the film an authentic touch, mainly because the first half of the film which portrays the atrocities of the brigand, is totally narrated from Veerappan's perspective. Sometimes, the police have been projected badly on screen and the director even creates some sequences which indicate that Veerappan's excesses were due to the police atrocities in the forest belt.
In the second half, the director has made another mistake. He has projected the efforts of Tamil Nadu Police to nab and kill Veerappan, completely forgetting that Karnataka was part of the Special Task Force of the two states. It was Karnataka which suffered major casualities as well as financial losses on account of the brigand's menace. The contribution of many police officers from Karnataka, who were even recognised with awards, has been ignored.
Due to instructions by the Central Board of Film Certification, most portions featuring Muththulakshmi have been blurred, and many dialogues are muted.
The major attraction in "Attahasa" is clearly the performance of two protoganists - Kishore, who plays Veerappan's role, and Arjun Sarja, who plays the role of a Vijaya Kumar, who headed the Special Task Force of two states. Ravi Kale plays the role of Senthamarai Kannan, assistant to Vijaya Kumar, perfectly.
Many other artists are new, but they have all performed with ease. The entire kidnapping episode of Kannada actor Rajkumar, does not excite you, though actor Suresh Oberoi has tried to portray the legendary actor's role with finesse.
The film's background score by Sandeep Chowta needs special appreciation. Milton's camera work is outstanding, and even the art department has worked very well. Though "Attahasa" has many lapses, it is good for one-time viewing because of its extraordinary technical values and performance of Kishore and Arjun Sarja.