Veerana (1985)


Veerana (1985)
Cast: Jasmin, Hemant Birje, Sahila Chaddha, Satish Shah, Kulbushan Kharabanda
Director: Tulsi Ramsay and Shyam Ramsay
Nutshell: Nasty witch possesses innocent young thing to take her ghastly revenge


The film begins with Ramsay’s veteran Vijayendra as a thakur who entraps the local witch and then has her rounded up and hung by the local villagers. However some satanic worshipers and disciples of the witch Nikita manage to drag her hideously charred corpse away where they build a suitable shrine for her. The evil high priest consults some ghastly looking zombie coneheads and it is decided in the underground dungeons that Vijayendra should pay for his attack on the witch by having his own young daughter become the vessel who will be infested by the spirit of the vengeful Nikita.

On a trip to the old ancestral home, the evil plot is put in motion. The car breaks down and as Vijayendra goes off for help his daughter Jasmin is approached by the high priest who hypnotizes her and cuts off a few locks of her hair. Now he returns to the monstrous coneheads and begins to construct a voodoo doll of the young Jasmin. In the most surreal and nightmarish sequence of the film amidst weird satanic chanting, Jasmin is summoned by the evil voodoo lord to Nikita’s open grave so that she can lie beside the rotting corpse of the evil witch and have the dead spirit possess her young body. The scene is Ramsay’s at their very best………weird green and red lighting, flashing thunderstorms with spectacular forked bolts of lightening, fabulously bizarre props and sets, ominous stirring rhythmic traditional mandir style music and some outrageous looking creatures – in this case the conehead zombies!

The high priest succeeds in abducting the girl and transferring his mistress Nikita’s murderous spirit into her and then he arrives at her uncle Kulbushan’s place claiming that he rescued the young child in the middle of the forest and brought her home. Kulbushan is so taken by the honesty of the high priest (who is serenading as a simple villager) that he asks him to stay on and look after the child. Thus Nikita’s main disciple is now able to watch over Jasmin just like Mrs. Baylock was watching over Damian as he grew up in the first of the Omen films.

Jasmin starts’ behaving strangely from the word go and gets a fish tank to explode before she turns on her aunt in another dramatic and excellently staged scene. This time she laughs mockingly in a masculine voice as her aunt tries desperately to get away – moments later the aunt is found hanging from her sari in her own room, a most unlikely suicide yet how could anybody suspect the young Jasmin whimpering away innocently in the corner of the room?

After the trauma Jasmin’s uncle sends his own daughter away to grow up in Bombay while Jasmin remains with him and turns into a strange sullen and moody beauty prone to wandering alone in the darkness and spending hours and hours on her own locked away in her room. Time passes and Kulbushan’s own daughter Sahila comes back to visit her father and her cousin Jasmin at the old house but along the way she is attacked by a very strange looking zombie like man and is fortunate to have the young studly Hemant Birje (ex Tarzan) come to her rescue. She takes him home offering to find him a job at her father’s wood factory.

A string of brutal murders have the local authorities completely stumped though the audience can see that it is all the work of the dastardly Nikita who is using the body of poor Jasmin in order to carry out her own twisted revenge. Her modus operandi is of attracting sleaze ball’s from petrol stations and so on and coming on strong and then after having passionate sex with them she turns into her true form and ravages them leaving them in barely recognizable condition.

Much mayhem follows before Hemant Birje’s heroics with an Om trishul are able to restore some sanity. Jasmin turns in a fine performance as the one possessed by the lusting witch but the films sexual slant landed it in hot water with the censors and there were long delays before the Ramsay’s were finally able to release it. The censors had serious issues with the storyline involving entrapment, sex and revenge. However it managed to turn a profit like most of the Ramsay productions and boasted some classic Ramsay moments.

Kulbushan Kharabanda lends some class to the otherwise cheap b grade class while Gulshan Grover makes an impact as a low life. Hemant Birje is wooden at best and Satish Shah irritates with his inane comedy and Sahila Chaddha is instantly forgettable. However there is enough going on in this flick to qualify it as indispensable viewing for scholars of Bollywood horror.