When we were introduced to Arjun Varma in Guns & Gulaabs, we got the feeling that he was the stereotypical Hindi cinema no-nonsense cop who did not compromise on his principles, stood for what was right, and was ready to fight the system if it came to that. He had a beautiful family, and he prioritized them over everything else in his life. There were little things he did that spoke volumes about the kind of man he was, like one time, he apologized to his wife, Madhu, as he knew that her business suffered because Arjun got transferred quite frequently. He never made his wife feel that what she did was less important as compared to his job, which, surprisingly, a lot of egotistical men do. He always supported her in whatever way he could and did not forget to give them his undivided attention, even when his work got hectic. But behind that demeanor of a righteous man, Arjun was hiding his vices, and eventually, we realized that he was not as ethical as he pretended to be.
We came to know that one of Arjun’s colleagues, named Pratap, was serving a sentence because he had been made a scapegoat by politicians and high-ranking officers involved in a huge scam. According to Pratap, Arjun could have helped his cause, but he didn’t, and because of that, his entire life was ruined. Pratap’s wife left him after the allegations were made against him, and the man burned with rage and wanted to take revenge at all costs. Pratap wanted to ruin Arjun’s entire life, and he wanted to make him go through whatever he had. Pratap knew of a girl named Yamini who knew Arjun from before, and they were with each other before Yamini vanished without telling Arjun anything. Yamini called Arjun and asked to meet him, and at that moment, the latter didn’t understand why she had decided to establish contact once again when things had ended between them a long time ago.
Arjun met Yamini at the hotel, and they shared some intimate moments. A few days later, Arjun got to know that it was all a trap laid by Pratap, and now he had pictures of Arjun and Yamini getting close. Arjun realized that he had no option and would have to agree with whatever Pratap wanted. Arjun had realized that there was a lot of money that could be made in the small town of Gulabganj, provided a person played his cards well. He hadn’t told anybody at that moment, but he had decided that he would make sure that neither Ganchi nor Nabeed was able to make a deal with the gang from Kolkata, and instead, he provided the gang with all the opium they needed and paid Pratap with whatever he got in return.
The question that crossed our mind here was whether Arjun would have done the same thing if Pratap wasn’t blackmailing him all this time, and we think that he would have. Arjun was inherently a corrupt cop, no matter how virtuous and nice he pretended to be. He was not an all-out criminal, but he did bend the rules in his life. He did get intimate with Yamini, as at that time, he knew that his wife would never learn about it. He only abided by his principles until it was convenient for him, and even Pratap sarcastically told him that he should stop telling himself that he was not as corrupt as others.
Arjun’s daughter, Jyotsana, was kidnapped by Atmaram, and together with Tipu, Bunty, and Chadralekha, he was able to save her. Till we reached the end of Guns & Gulaabs, Madhu somewhat knew that he was having an affair with somebody. She hadn’t caught him, and neither had she seen the photographs, but she had a very strong intuition, and she was scared that it would turn out to be true. Arjun also told Yamini that he was living his life in fear and that now he wanted to go and confess everything to Madhu. Yamini told him that by telling her the truth, what Arjun actually wanted to do was get rid of the guilt. Yamini gave him a reality check and told him that he was delusional to think he was doing it for Madhu’s benefit, as when he revealed to the poor woman that he was having an extramarital affair, she would inevitably get emotionally wrecked.
Arjun didn’t say anything after that, and we never came to know if he actually went and told the truth to Madhu or not. We felt that a gangster-like Nabeed or a corrupt cop like SP Mishra were better off as compared to Arjun Varma. After whatever Arjun did, and moreover, the way he did it, we never felt that he was a trustworthy man. He could betray anyone if they came in his way. There was nothing wrong with his marriage, and the way he indulged in Yamini without even thinking said a lot about him. For somebody like Arjun, the concept was very clear: if one does not get caught, then there is no wrong done.
We wouldn’t be surprised if, in season 2, he hooks up with somebody and betrays Madhu’s trust. This time around, Arjun could take the defense that he indulged in all sorts of corrupt activities because the situation demanded so, but we think that being coerced was not the only reason, and somewhere, greed did have a role to play in the scheme of things. It wouldn’t be wrong if we called Arjun a selfish man, and his allegiance lay only where he saw his benefit. Maybe this time, he made a narrow escape, but if he kept on like this, someday it would all catch up, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he faced something similar to what Pratap had. Arjun had decided to hand over the opium to the authorities, as he didn’t want to be blackmailed anymore. Though Arjun felt that he could come out of this mess, it was not as easy as it seemed.
If there were a second season, Arjun would still have a lot of problems and conflicts to face. Firstly, telling Madhu would have its own implications, and we cannot forget that Jugnu, the immortal Atmaram, and obviously the Kolkata gang were still there, and they would want to take revenge on Arjun for spoiling the entire deal.