Veerana (which translates as “Desolate Forest”) is an Indian horror feature film produced by the Ramsay Brothers in 1988. It is known for its overt use of coloured gels mixed with atmospheric sets that recall the work of Mario Bava.
Thakur Mahender Pratap Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) finds out that a witch is creating havoc in an adjoining forest. His younger brother Sameer Pratap (Vijayendra Ghatge) decides to go on a witch hunt. While driving his car through the middle of the lonely forest, he meets a beautiful young woman, just as one villager had described.
The woman gets a lift in Sameer’s car. They arrive at the old mansion which is located behind the lake in the forest. Sameer uses his clever seductive tactics and gets the lady to bathe with him in the bathtub. Then diverting her attention by pretending to be physically intimate with her he snatches the bat locket from her neck.
The lady transforms into the hideous witch that she really is. Sameer renders her weak and helpless by holding a holy Om in front of her. The witch is taken to the outskirts of the village and the locals along with orders of the Thakur Mahender Pratap Singh hang her to death. A tantric manages to steal back her body along with all his followers in the dead of the night and takes it to the shrine, where he keeps it in a sarcophagus and promises to provide her with a new body…
“Loosely adapted from Jose Larraz‘s Vampyres, Veerana has everything a fan of world weird cinema could hope for. Poorly choreographed fight scenes, daunting behemoths of mystical origins and song and dance routines that are hilarious instead of inappropriate and annoying, all encased in a distinct local flavoring.” DVD Drive-In
“The performances are decent and the characters are likable enough but Veerana’s best feature is its visuals. It’s a really cool looking film with some truly inspired imagery. Beautiful use of color, outstanding sets and props, top-notch effects (Nakita’s makeup is especially noteworthy) and a great score. Veerana is thoroughly entertaining and comes highly recommended.” Goregirl’s Dungeon
“It’s a combination of slapstick comedy, martial arts movie, horror film, love story and musical. And it switches between these genres with bewildering rapidity. If you can accept that this is an entirely different approach to film-making and allow yourself to just go with it, there’s a good deal of fun to be had.” Cult Movie
Buy Veerana + Purani Haveli on Mondo Macabro DVD from Amazon.com
“Visually this film is a tour de force of style and atmosphere in which each new revelation being more outlandish than the last. One of the film’s standout moments is a scene where an adolescent Jasmin is in her room on a swing and her mother is in the background. Her mother has figured out that all is not well with her daughter. The juxtaposition of the two characters in this scene further intensifies the impending danger.” 10k Bullets
” … by far the most entertaining Bollywood horror I’ve seen. Silly and filled with fun special effects, it’s a blast even at a lengthy 145 minutes. One of my favourite moments involves a ridiculous portrait of an Alsatian that quickly zaps the scene of any potential tension. Unless I’m imagining things, I’m pretty sure this photo-realistic dog painting has shown up in several other Ramsay brother features.” Mondo Exploito