VEERA blu-ray review

India Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.39:1

Telugu: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English









Ravi Teja’s VEERA: If you are good, he’ll cuddle with you. If you are bad, he’ll chop off your legs.

I don’t know if anyone has ever experienced watching a movie in a dream. It happens to me all the time. In my dream, I go into a movie theater and walk into a film which makes no sense and has no order but is entertaining nonetheless. When I wake up, I try to remember really hard what I had watched in my dream, but all I can remember are entertaining bits of pieces. Watching Veera gave me that dream experience. I was afraid I was going to be bored silly watching this film after reading all the horrible reviews, but overall it’s like any other typical “time-pass” film from India but what amazed me with this film is that Veera is a very dream-like film.

Veera can be certainly classified as a chaotic mess with a story with no focus, but I thought it was pretty interesting how the director shuffled two films into one film. There’s one film with an interesting, exciting story about a tough officer protecting a family from two very scary charasmatic villains, with good acting by the leads – such as the character ACP Shyamsunder (I don’t know the actor’s name) who is a lookalike and similar to the good German actor Moritz Bleibtreu, as well as good acting from the villains. And then there’s another story that was shuffled into the good film – a non-funny slapsticky comedy film about an officer who has to deal with family members that he’s protecting. In this film, the acting is awful and the story is not interesting. This shuffle is really bizarre with highly emotional or violent moments jumping to some happy, cheerful song or scene – it’s quite funny actually (especially with the scene change to the final Veera theme song). I know that this is expected in a masala film, but in Veera, it does feel bizzare and out of place. If Veera’s director had learned about cutting a movie, it would have been wiser to have just cut out all the comedy filler scenes to make this movie a more serious action movie, which it almost was. There was a good base there. It could have been very similar to a movie like LEON or Korea’s THE MAN FROM NOWHERE had it focused on a bad-ass officer (Ravi Teja) protecting a child from two crazed villains. If the movie had been written well, the movie could have focused more on Ravi Teja’s relationship with the child, but instead we get Ravi Teja cuddling and goofing around with his fat non-funny friend most of the time. The two villains are actually awesome. We get a really creepy Indian Robert Davi-type criminal. And then later on in the film, we get a seriously bad-ass holy man villain, who also is bossed around by his Arundhati-nutcase of a wife.

There are some positives in this film though:

The first positive in this schizophrenic film is that the direction is pretty good, even with its quick-cut editing. If I had to compare, Ramesh Varma does seem to be inspired by the Hollywood director Tony Scott, which isn’t a bad thing. The action in the beginning, middle, and end is quite entertaining. The climax of the film is so violent and over-the-top, it’s actually worth the 150 minute running time. There are protagonists that get slaughtered which was very satisfying since they were so annoying in the comedy filler scenes. Unfortunately, the two most annoying actors in this film, Veera’s sister and Veera’s fat comic friend survive the slaughter. I was really hoping for Veera’s sister to get her head chopped off by the bad guys because she’s one of the most obnoxious female characters I have ever seen in an Indian film. The climax is very Shaw Brothers by the way – from the final action scene all the way to the ending.

The second positive is that the movie co-stars the beautiful and talented Kajal Agarwal. I was getting worried as I was watching this film because she doesn’t show up until half way through. But when she shows up, she steals every scene she’s in, because she is a real movie star. I think she’s the most likable and hot actress in Telugu cinema today, especially after becoming a fan of hers after seeing her in MAGADHEERA.

The third positive in the film are the songs. They are all catchy and highly entertaining. I have no understanding of the poor reviews I read about the laziness of these songs.

Is Ravi Teja the fourth positive in the film? I don’t know. He’s a likable guy, but I know this isn’t the movie to judge him. This is the first time I’ve watched him, so I just don’t know what to make of him yet. To me, he seems like a cross between a young Amitabh Bachchan and Borat. I like him. I just don’t love him. He’s certainly a hundred times better than Ashkay Kumar!

The 2-disk Blu-ray/DVD combo produced by Bhavani is pretty much perfect for an Indian blu-ray. Veera is a beautiful-looking film and the blu-ray transfer does it justice. It’s as attractive as its stars, bright, crytal-clear and with exceptional amounts of detail.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Telugu audio track is just as good, with obvious use of surrounds, and a crisp, clear soundstage that makes use of all five channels during the action and song scenes.
The film may not be that great, but this Bhavani blu-ray is certainly demo-worthy.
The extras on the DVD version were actually pretty impressive – it’s basically a good 90-minute home video of the process of shooting songs and other scenes. It’s quite interesting and a reminder of what a pain in the butt it is to make a film.

The only negatives of the blu-ray are:
1. The English subtitles are grammatically incorrect and full of awkward translations most of the times. Sure, we can understand the gist of the film, but the English subtitles should have been better.
2. The Bhavani logo pops up during songs. It’s not so distracting and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that watches Indian blu-rays and DVDs, but there is no need for logos popping up on blu-rays as we all know.

Overall, Veera could have been a really good exciting action drama, but an awful comedy has been randomly shuffled in with the good scenes. I don’t know if it’s worth watching, but it’s certainly an entertaining movie. The night before I just rented the Hollywood film Priest and fell asleep to it. Eventhough that film was polished and slick, the story in that film was so generic and boring, I fell asleep. As messy as Veera was, I had no urge to close my eyes and I was totally entertained! But make no mistake, Veera is not a good film!

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