Indian Police Force is too much like a film

Sidharth Malhotra and Shilpa Shetty Kundra in Indian Police Force. Photo; Trailer Video Grab

When you make a web series and not a film, there should be a distinct change in approach. Rohit Shetty, an exceptionally adept and successful filmmaker, has also directed a few ad films in which he followed the grammar of his movies with scintillating results. That he could effortlessly blend the real with just the tiniest necessary element of reel was also clear from his documentary, Mission Frontline, which was a detailed look at real soldiers. Of course, his motto has always been ‘larger-than-life’, whether in his hosting a show of matching sensibilities (Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi) or his amusing animation products for children (Little Singham, Golmaal Jr.).

One can therefore, perhaps, look at Indian Police Force through the same prism. Except for the fact that the resourceful talent in Rohit should have observed the difference between his films like Zameen, Simmba, Sooryavanshi and the Singham franchise and action thrillers on the web. For, even in Indian web series, the benchmark has been set high (and almost Mission Frontline real!) by Neeraj Pandey as well as a host of other names.

And the USP of any good web thriller, even a patriotic and anti-terrorist one, is realism.

The larger-than-life cop universe that entertains so much on the big screen does not quite fit in the domestic / mobile world of OTT. The script, the editing, action and emotion all look too “Hindi film” and in that sense for a web show, is almost outdated. But maybe this cinematic gaffe is all for the good, for Rohit can now fathom that he will have to refresh content even in his films, while keeping the emotional angles intact.

In Indian Police Force, therefore, the emotions are handled well, even if again in a clichéd manner (good Muslim, bad Muslim, loss of a colleague, nation over husband, nation first over family, emotion-laden back stories and more). But the action is not just exaggerated but even illogical. In at least three key sequences, one in the pre-climax, sense is sent out of the window just to prolong the sequences! The death scene of a key protagonist, for example, is ridiculous in the way it is executed.

The “Delhi Police” phrase is repeated by Kabir Malik (Sidharth Malhotra) to the point of becoming almost jingoistic (!!) and the climax anything but nail-biting in its predictability. I can understand Bangladesh being chosen in place of Pakistan for shooting exigencies but (a) Pakistan too has also been replicated in movies and series and (b) terrorism hardly originates from the eastern country. That also is a negative factor for the show.

All in all, it seems that the series has been conceived mechanically, just to deliver on a new format the same content that could have possibly worked better in a concise length of minus three hours on the big screen.

Sidharth Malhotra does well as Kabir Malik, and so does Shilpa Shetty in a limited role as Tara Shetty, but they are hardly distinguished, and cannot be faulted because of the material. Vivek Oberoi too is handicapped by his role and goes through the motions. Mayyank Taandon as the terrorist Zarar and Vaidehi Parshurami as Nafeesa score better for the same reason—well-etched roles. Mukesh Rishi as the Deputy-General of Police does not quite deliver, but Shruti Panwar (nee Ulfat) looks menacing enough. Sharad Kelkar and Sucheta Bandekar shine among the rest.

Rohit Shetty and Sushwanth Prakash are co-directors and their strengths and weaknesses have been mentioned above. The technical side is as good as can be expected from a film helmed by Shetty, but I seriously wish the content had matched.

Shetty’s genre of action films has never been the darling of critics, and over the decades, he has developed what may perhaps be called a disrespect to them for their persistent aversion to his kind of cinema that works so well with the audience. But perhaps now, it is time for introspection so that he can maintain and enhance his past phenomenal record by getting back to form.

Who else today has a matching track-record, after all?

Amazon Prime Video present Rohit Shetty Picturez & Reliance Entertainment’s Indian Police Force  Created and produced by: Rohit Shetty  Directed by: Rohit Shetty & Sushwanth Prakash  Written by: Rohit Shetty, Sandeep Saket, Anusha Nandakumar, Ayush Trivedi, Vidhi Ghodgaonkar & Sanchit Bedre  Music: Lijo George-DJ Chetas  Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Vivek Oberoi, Sharad Kelkar, Mukesh Rishi, Sucheta Bandekar, Vaidehi Parshurami, Mayaank Taandon, Mrinal Kulkarni, Isha Talwar, Nkitin Dheer, Rituraj Singh, Lalit Parimoo, Vibhuti Thakur & others






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