Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Directed by Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay
Starring: Hemant Birje, Jasmin, Sahila Chaddha, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Satish Shah, Vijayendra Ghatge
Running Time: 145 minutes
DVD Studio: Mondo Macabro
Sameer and the local villagers capture a witch that has been draining the blood of hapless and horny dudes and manage to kill her. The witch's boyfriend named Baba is an evil sorcerer and he vows to get revenge. He kidnaps Sameer's neice Jasmin and Sameer disappears mysteriously. Baba performs a ritual that causes Jasmin to be possessed by the spirit of the witch. He then shows up with a "rescued" Jasmin and offers his services as a butler for Jasmin's father Thakur.
Years later, Jasmin is all grown up and behaving very strangely. She locks herself in her room and only goes out at night to drink the blood of men in the village. Sound familiar? Her sister Sahila returns from school but a happy reunion is impossible as Baba wants Sahila out of the picture. Luckily, on the way home Sahila met Hermant, a hunky duder looking for work who saves her from a monster that Baba summoned. Once they figure out that Jasmin is possessed and Baba is not who he says he is, Sahila and Hermant must battle the forces of evil for Jasmin's soul.
Once again, I have been totally floored by a Bollywood horror production. Maybe "floored" isn't the right word for it, perhaps "beaten into submission" is a better description. This is only my fourth Indian horror film and they just keep getting more and more amazing and hilarious. Veerana is actually the funniest one I've seen so far with truly funny intentional humor mixed in with the bad 80s fashion and ludicrous plot. Of course having two voluptuous starlets, Jasmin and Sahila Chaddha, in the same flick increases my enjoyment of the film immensely. The odd and beautiful soundtrack full of synthesizer mess is just dandy.
The biggest disadvantage Bollywood horror films have is their running times. Apparently, everyone in India has longer attentions spans than the rest of the world. Veerana is over two hours long! The biggest surprise is that I didn't get bored with the film until around the last 20 minutes or so when I was ready for the Ramsay brothers to wrap it up. The best part about these super long movies is the inclusion of musical numbers performed by the cast. Oh yes, the song and dance bits are essential to the Bollywood horror experience.
Don't expect much gore or nudity from Veerana. Due to the strict censorship over yonder, this is pretty tame stuff but that hardly hurts the film. What makes the Ramsay brothers' films so great is their craziness and their shameless ripping off of popular American films such as The Exorcist. There are even short segments for John Carpenter's The Thing and the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers mixed in there. But who cares, right? Veerana contains some of the most bizonkers wide-eyed wackiness I've ever seen.
For a completely different Bollywood horror experience, check out Gehrayee.