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. 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.
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