Police brutality and the glorification of the same is bad, period. People who love to glorify the profession despite all their flaws do so because they are unaware or unperturbed by its repercussions. Back in 2020, the director of the original Singham films, Hari, reflected on the franchise he had created after the custodial deaths in Sathankulam that caused a lot of outrage, and he said that he regretted making those movies in the first place. When Rohit Shetty, the director of the unoriginal “cop universe” films, was asked the question, he simply glossed over every good or bad report on the police, even the news where a self-styled “Singham” cop was suspended for lowering the image of the profession, and said that society needs the police because society needs to live with some fear in its heart. So, in case you weren’t aware already, that is the level of stupidity that we are working with in Indian Police Force.
Taking place in the Cop Universe established by the two Singham movies, Simmba, and Sooryavanshi, the Prime Video series, Indian Police Force, tells the story of DCP Kabir Malik IPS and Joint CP Vikram Bakshi IPS as they deal with the multiple bombings taking place all over Delhi. ATS Chief Tara Shetty is brought in from Gujarat to nab the perpetrators, who happen to be Vikram’s old friend from their college days. The “villain” is revealed to be Haider, who is living with a family of four: Saeed, Nafeesa, Moin, and Fareeda. While Moin and Fareeda are oblivious to what is going on, Haider and Saeed are clearly working on the next step of their plan with the help of Rafeeq and his men. Things get personal for Kabir when someone close to him becomes a victim of the terrorist attacks, thereby forcing him to go into overdrive, break protocols, and even cross international borders to bring an end to the mayhem.
To be honest, there’s not much to say about the writing in Indian Police Force because it’s a bad, bland, and bigoted series. Tolerating it is the ultimate endurance test. If anyone can watch the entire thing without even looking at the “skip forward” button, then the winning prize is a free, month-long trip to the therapist because there’s something definitely wrong with that person. But this degradation in terms of the narrative begs the question, “Why has Rohit Shetty become like this?” I don’t think that mainstream Bollywood, as a unit, has a spine. They can understand or anticipate the direction in which the proverbial wind is blowing, and then they act accordingly. They never really have society’s best interests in mind, let alone the country’s. I mean, it’s not like they’ll make something that’s critical of the status quo while facing a lot of resistance from the flag-bearers of majoritarianism—not anymore. That’s why, in 2011’s, Singham, the villain, was a politician. In 2014’s Singham Returns, the villain was a religious leader. In 2018’s Simmba, the villain was a random gangster. But in 2021’s Sooryavanshi, the villains were terrorists who were masquerading as members of the minority community in India. And with Indian Police Force, Shetty doubles down on his vague gestures at the “real problem” that is plaguing the country because he knows that that is what is going to sell in the current socio-political climate.
Now, Rohit Shetty is free to do what he wants to do with his money and his time. If he can sleep at night while demonizing a whole section of India’s society, that is his choice. I just have a problem with his sermonizing. You see, when the villains of his films were men of authority hailing from the majority community, he didn’t feel the need to do all that. But now that he has started to craft villains who hail from the minority community and are radicalized by teachers from schools meant for the education of the minority community because they are hurt by the actions of the majority community, he just can’t resist his urge to sermonize, which just so happens to be massively hypocritical in nature. In a scene between Sidharth Malhotra and Mayyank Taandon, the Indian Police Force states that if every member of the minority community who is hurt by the majority community takes up arms and opts for violence, then it’ll only lead to more violence. Instead, they should do something that’s productive and beneficial for society. And while they are blabbering, do take a glance at the names in the cast and see how Rohit Shetty has practiced what he has preached by using his majoritarian privilege to uplift members of the minority community so that they don’t feel othered in their country because that sensation of being ostracized usually leads to conflict. Spoiler alert: He hasn’t practiced what he has preached.
To be clear, again, Rohit Shetty is free to do what he wants to do with his time and money. He can choose to create this fantasy land where almost every member from the various minority communities residing in India is a terrorist, except for the one individual from the minority community who has to give righteous sermons to these “terrorists” or “potential terrorists.” In this fantastical version of India, he can choose to show the Delhi Police to be the most competent police force in the entire country while portraying the police force of every other state as inept or practically absent. And he can choose to believe that this fantastical version of Delhi Police can one-up the law enforcement agencies of Bangladesh. But I sincerely hope that he doesn’t wish to be taken seriously. I won’t speak for everyone who has watched the show or is planning to watch it, but I do happen to know the state of the majority community, the minority communities, politics, law enforcement, the judiciary, and the Hindi film industry. Rohit Shetty’s nonsense isn’t changing my perspective because his show is very, very far removed from reality. So, in that case, the least he can do is be entertaining. Guess what? He fails to do that as well.
Everything from the overall look of Indian Police Force to the acting—it’s horrible. The dialogue scenes are awkwardly paced. The actors are either stilted or they are trying too hard to seem intimidating. The action sequences are so jarring, especially the one set in Goa, and they always end up outstaying their welcome. Kudos to the stunt choreographers and stunt experts, but the show has some of the dullest action scenes I have ever seen. In my opinion, Rohit Shetty has never been an excellent action director. He has always relied on bombastic moments, slow motion, and the charisma of his actors. But even those skills seem to be on some kind of a downhill slide. The horrible yellow tint that’s used to tell audiences that the setting has changed from India to Bangladesh is laughable. There are way too many establishing drone shots in every episode, and the background music that accompanies those shots is annoying as hell. All in all, the only emotion Rohit Shetty manages to elicit over the course of seven episodes is boredom. If that sounds exciting to you, please feel free to give the Prime Video series a chance.