The Hunt for Veerappan not only captures the pursuit of a criminal but also paints a vivid portrait of a woman whose life has been intertwined with his. While the documentary’s sole responsibility is to portray the life of India’s most notorious criminal, Veerappan, at the heart of the storytelling is the compelling portrayal of Veerappan’s loyal wife, Muthulakshmi. Directed by Selvamani Selvaraj, the documentary’s ability to present Muthulakshmi’s story in such a nuanced and empathetic manner made the series a compelling one and a standout among Netflix’s collection of documentaries.
Through a series of interviews and narratives, the documentary skillfully navigates Muthulakshmi’s journey alongside her husband. Her character is a captivating study in contrasts, showcasing a range of emotions and experiences. From standing by her husband steadfastly through thick and thin to silently nursing her own grievances when their relationship grew distant, Muthulakshmi emerges as a multi-dimensional personality.
What sets her portrayal apart is the documentary’s ability to present her complexity with remarkable simplicity. It shines a spotlight on Muthulakshmi’s loyalty and commitment while also delicately highlighting the challenges brought about by their secretive and criminal lifestyle. By portraying her with such depth, the documentary gives us a genuine and relatable look into the emotional battles of a woman who chose to stand by a man seen as a criminal mastermind.
The character of Muthulakshmi presents a complex interplay of emotions, motivations, and contradictions. As Veerappan’s partner, she offers a unique perspective on life and the concepts of right and wrong. Her portrayal in the documentary allows us to delve into the depths of her psyche, shedding light on her beliefs, fears, and role within the narrative.
How did Veerappan’s life shape Muthulakshmi’s fate?
Born in 1973, Muthulakshmi entered into union with Veerappan when she was only 17 years old, and Veerappan was a 39-year-old man with significant life experience. Certainly, the age gap between Muthulakshmi and her husband played a significant role in shaping her life. It led to a dynamic where she assumed a submissive role toward her husband and followed his commands obediently. When her husband proposed to her, she found it difficult to decline due to her fascination with his personality. This initial enchantment led to a deep and abiding love for him, and she remained devoted to him until his passing. While the documentary showcases Muthulakshmi’s loyalty to her husband, Veerappan, it raises many questions about her thought process. Despite her husband’s involvement in violent activities, she continued to stand by him and hold him in high regard, without questioning his motives or trying to motivate him to be better. Muthulakshmi’s commitment to her husband seems to stem from a mixture of genuine affection, a sense of duty, and possibly an underlying psychological need for security within a perilous environment.
Throughout her entire life, Muthulakshmi and her husband were in a constant state of fleeing from one place to another to evade capture by authority. Amid these trying circumstances, she gave birth three times, contrary to what the documentary said, as it mentioned only two children. The documentary revealed that their two daughters had grown up and were alive. However, a well-known rumor exists suggesting that Veerappan and Muthulakshmi might have had a third child who was allegedly killed by Veerappan out of fear of the police, an act aimed at avoiding capture. While the documentary might have ignored this rumor or perhaps Muthulakshmi chose not to discuss it, it remains a topic of speculation and, indeed, a point of concern that requires further exploration of Veerappan’s motivation and intricate aspects of his and Muthulakshmi’s mindset.
At a certain point, Muthulakshmi was apprehended by the police. During her time in custody, she endured severe torture, which led her to cooperate with the police out of fear for her life. Despite this, she made persistent efforts to safeguard her husband’s identity. Even when faced with near-captures and police schemes, she adeptly handled these situations, demonstrating her intelligence and resourcefulness. Her ability to maintain her composure under such challenging circumstances showcased her strength and determination.
The documentary shows that Muthulakshmi had moments of vulnerability. She was really protective of her family’s safety, which strongly influenced what she did. This protection became a big reason for her actions, even more than just her loyalty to Veerappan. She had a strong motherly instinct, as evidenced by her caring and protective motherly instincts. This showed that she was a woman facing very tough situations, stuck between her husband’s criminal actions and her duty as a mother to her children. Looking at her thoughts, it’s important to think about the psychological reasons behind Muthulakshmi’s way of thinking. The documentary strongly showcases how she has supported her husband’s violent deeds, making us wonder about how she dealt with the conflict between what’s right and wrong.
The documentary also provides insight into her perception of bravery and violence. Her admiration for Veerappan’s audacity and courage, even in the face of brutality, reveals a skewed sense of values. The paradox emerges as she grapples with the concept of bravery being intertwined with violence, forcing the audience to question the intricacies of her moral compass and the context that shaped it. Muthulakshmi’s personality makes us think about how much control and independence she had in her relationship. Did she truly support what Veerappan did, or was she more influenced by the situation and her fears? The way she is shown in the documentary makes us wonder how much she could decide for herself, especially when going against Veerappan’s wishes could be really dangerous.
Where is Muthulakshmi now?
To sum up, Muthulakshmi’s character is like a complicated tapestry made of mixed feelings, reasons for actions, and ways of dealing with problems. She becomes a really important person whose emotional journey adds richness to the documentary’s exploration of Veerappan’s life and choices. In 2004, when Veerappan was caught and killed by the police, it was a tough time for Muthulakshmi. The person she loved deeply had left her life in ruins. Yet she managed to gather herself and emerge as a village activist. Over time, she nurtured political aspirations, and in 2006, she entered the Tamil Nadu assembly election. By 2018, she had even worked hard to convince the government to provide clean water for farming. Now, at 50, she still proudly upholds her husband’s “Robin Hood” image. She sees him as a brave rebel and a martyr, continuing to hold her head high.