The Hunt for Veerappan review: Mostly absorbing account of a protracted manhunt

The Hunt for Veerappan documents India’s longest and costliest manhunt. It was launched to catch Veerappan, a smuggler and poacher who made the forests of South India his home. The docuseries is now streaming on Netflix.


Veerappan was an Indian criminal whose gang poached elephants in the thick forests of MM Hills. After poaching almost 1000 elephants, the gang started smuggling sandalwood trees. It was also known that the gang took human lives as well.

In 1989, the Karnataka Forest Department took account of Veerappan’s illegal activities and tried to stop him. Soon, the police aided the forest department in putting an end to Veerappan and his gang’s work.

As a result, Veerappan lost his business empire. When Veerappan retaliated by attacking a police jeep, the Karnataka Government had no choice but to form a Special Task Force (STF) to catch him.

This was the beginning of what became the longest and the costliest manhunt of India. It was not easy to catch Veerappan, as the forest was his home, and he knew how to disappear there. However, no matter how long it took, the STF was determined to stop at nothing to capture him.


The docuseries explores the manhunt step-by-step in detail, and it manages to keep the audience invested. The narrative is built like a story in order to make the audience curious about what is to come next.

Initially, the docuseries recreates the events solely through interviews with the parties involved as well as some pictures. There is not a lot of archival footage in the first two episodes, but the audience will never miss it, as the pictures are expertly interwoven with the narrative.

The audience gets to hear the story from several perspectives, which allows them to see the gaps in the accounts given by the two sides. This is also made possible because the interviewees are asked the right questions, and the audience can understand what is not being said.

Even when people praise Veerappan and call him a hero, the docuseries carefully avoids depicting him as one; it does not fail to bring to the audience’s attention the remorseless and brutal side of him. Similarly, it is also critical of the police’s actions.

The series also gives the audience space to form an opinion of their own. It investigates the case thoroughly, brings to the audience’s attention the innocent people who became casualties and were forgotten, and then lets the audience differentiate between right and wrong.


There are times when The Hunt for Veerappan becomes too dense due to the amount of details it provides. Episodes two and three might have been better if the docuseries had summarized some of the incidents discussed.

The series does not stop at describing the brutal acts committed; it shows the audience images of the dead bodies of the people who were subjected to that brutality. These are not fictional characters but real people, and the idea of their deaths being used for shock value is unsettling.


The Hunt for Veerappan is not flawless, but it is an investigative documentary that gives a detailed and unbiased view of India’s fabled manhunt. For the most part, the docuseries is absorbing, so the people who know the story of the notorious criminal and those who do not will enjoy it alike.

The Hunt for Veerappan
The Hunt for Veerappan review: Mostly absorbing account of a protracted manhunt 1

Director: Selvamani Selvaraj

Date Created: 2023-08-02 20:43

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Hunt for Veerappan summary and ending explained

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