New Delhi: Director A M R Ramesh, it seems, has a special place in his heart for real life incidents and controversial subjects. That probably explains why his next film, Vanayudham, is also going to be based on a real life story — the story of forest brigand Veerappan and Dr Rajkumar, who was taken hostage by him.
Says the director of Cyanide, the story of which was based on the events that took place in Bangalore after the assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi entered it, "I have always been interested in Veerappan and his life. In fact, right from the time I was a child, I've been interested in his life history. That is because when I was young, we would go to offer prayers at the Madeshwaram temple on the Tamil Nadu border. Devotees would gather in groups and only when there were enough people to fill 10 vehicles would the party begin its journey to the temple. Even then, they would not move without police escort. Two police vehicles – one at the beginning of the convoy and one at the end, would escort the devotees to the temple to keep them safe from attacks launched by the brigand."
Continues the director, "In 2000, I was doing research for my film Cyanide when Dr Rajkumar's kidnapping took place and that only increased my interest. I have been conducting research for 11 years on the subject."
Giving details of how he got his data, he says, "I knew Kempaiah, who was the officer who had surrounded Sivarasan's house in Bangalore before the shoot out. He had helped me with my earlier film Cyanide by giving me details of the shootout that happened to get rid of the assassins of our former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. After Dr Rajkumar's release, Kempaiah was chosen as STF chief and he led the search for the brigand in the forest. I have collected details from him and from the two other people who were solely responsible for getting Veerappan officers Vijayakumar and Senthamarai Kannan. Only these two officers know how exactly Veerappan met his end. Both have spoken in front of the camera and I also have interviewed close to 250 people including those in jail. I also have copies of top secret documents on operations launched to capture him. The whole film is about how Vijayakumar and Senthamarai Kannan tracked and killed Veerappan."
But point to him that when the incident occurred, there were several versions on how he had met his end and the director promises, "My film will show exactly how Veerappan met his end."
Finally, giving details of his cast and crew, he says, "Actor Kishore plays Veerappan while Arjun plays Vijayakumar. Vijayalakshmi plays Veerappan's wife Muthulakshmi and Jeyabalan plays a military officer who played an important role in Veerappan's death. Suresh Oberoi plays Dr Rajkumar in the film."