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Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much

  • Oct 21, 2009

There are vampires and there are vampire movies, and then there's VEERANA: VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE a Bollywood horror flick circa 1987. One would think that this flick is about some hot vampire chick named Veerana judging from the title and the cover of the box, and one would be wrong on both counts. We can blame the American distributors for this of course, because Veerana seems to translate to something like "Lonely Place" in English but it's far more intriguing to let potential viewers think it's the chick's name. Furthermore the chick  Nakita isn't really a vampire--oh she drinks blood all right but in reality she's something more of a witch (an ugly one) who's in league with a wizard. Together they serve the god Mahakal, the master of all who seek evil in the world.

WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? One thing that the title is honest about is the fact that this flick is about vengeance. Villagers have become annoyed at the way bodies keep turning up in the forest so they go to the wealthy landlords and beg them to take action and save them from the evil that is stalking them.  The younger of the two brothers, Sameer, finds and kills Nakita making our wizard very unhappy. In retaliation he  transfers Nakita's evil soul into the body of  Jasmin, the elder brother's young daughter. From here things get complicated and it takes a good 10 years for the wizard's plan to come to fruition.Veerana: Vengeance of the Vampire Now I know what you're thinking; Are there any song and dance numbers? Well yes and no. The adult Jasmin/Nakita has a little seduction song that she sings over and over, and our romantic female lead and her boyfriend have a love song that they sing (also over and over) but there's nothing really grand or satisfying here. There was a great clip on the disc of an unnamed movie showing corpses and skeleton's dancing towards the camera so I KNOW that what I'm looking for is out there somewhere. I just have to persevere.

WHAT ABOUT BLOOD AND GORE? Are you kidding me? This is Bollywood we're talking about here, you're not going to get much of that although they do imply a few things. Mostly what you get is a lot of Hammeresque atmosphere with swirling fog and a mansion/castle that is a combination of Victoriana and Indian architecture. The Vampires represented here don't really exist in Indian folklore so they've taken western cliches and toyed with them a bit; for instance instead of crosses you get Sri Ram's Om. Nakita does a wear a bat medallion however.

SHOULD I SEE IT? To be brutally honest, I don't know. I enjoyed it, but I suspect it's best left for those who feel they must see every variation on the vampire film ever created, yes I mean you trashcanman. It was made by the Ramsay Brothers who were not only the pioneers of horror in Bollywood, they were also regarded in their time as being the equivalent of Britain's Hammer Studios. They were the ultimate in their genre, and they were copied relentlessly.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW? Like almost every other Bollywood movie VEERANA is very long, so if you intend to tackle it you need to set aside about 2 and 1/2 hours of your life.


Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much Vampire Masala? Masala yes, Vampires not so much

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October 23, 2009
Ah, but Queenie, vampires do exist in Hindi folklore...
October 23, 2009
Do they have opera capes and react to garlic?
October 23, 2009
That would be a big no on the opera capes, unless it's a theatrically trained rakshasas, which are very popular characters in Indian dances. I've got a photo of one in my vampire mythology review. : )
October 23, 2009
Cool. Now if I could just find a movie about one.
July 12, 2011
I bet there's one out there if you look really, really hard.
July 12, 2011
I'm tryin'!
October 22, 2009
This sounds like this may be a toss-up between either liking it or hating it for me. But I am VERY open-minded, I'll give it a shot to satisfy my curiousity about Bollywood horror. Thanks for the in-depth review, Karen!!
October 22, 2009
It might be worth a shot because I think it has what you would call a "cheese" factor you could appreciate.
October 22, 2009
I like friends call me 'homecheese' LOL
October 22, 2009
Then you should be right at "home" here.
October 21, 2009
Hahaha, I'm going to have to pass on this vampire masala.  ...Especially since I have the attention span of a flea when it comes to movies like these!  Thanks for sharing!
October 21, 2009
Plenty of masala here but not a lot of vampire. Bollywood is not for those with ADD. Although some of them change tone so many times going from comedy to drama and back again that it seems like you've watched at least 3 different movies. That's where the masala comes in.
October 21, 2009
Hmmm, maybe if I were eating some kind of masala while watching it, it would be more interesting :P
October 21, 2009
Couldn't hurt.
More Veerana: Vengeance of the Vamp... reviews
Quick Tip by . April 15, 2010
Bollywood's early attempt at vampires is an east/west hybrid of the vamp legend. Little violence, singing not up to par--no dancing.
About the reviewer
karen ()
Ranked #5
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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Horror Movie, Musical, Vampire, Bollywood, Hindi, Black Magic, Ramsay Brothers


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