Indian Police Force Review: Of uniforms, guns, bombs and Rohit Shetty’s obsession with khaki
After a series of blasts in Delhi, three earnest officers – Vikram, Kabir Malik, Tara Shetty – are out to nab Zarar, the mastermind behind the attack and his aides and prevent any other untoward incident in the country. Who’ll have the last laugh?
A fair chunk of Rohit Shetty’s career has gone into creating a ‘chest-thumping cop’ universe with officers celebrating their machismo and wearing righteousness and patriotism on their sleeves. Indian Police Force just happens to be a lengthier extension of the filmmaker’s obsession with the khaki and the digital space gives him the liberty to play around with a wider pool of characters.
The plot is rather straightforward, centred on serial blasts across Delhi and Jaipur and how far the cops go, to find the culprit. While you don’t watch a Rohit Shetty show for its plot, it’s still disappointing when he takes audiences for a ride while delivering something massy. The show is a bunch of caricaturish cops sans identity, there’s no attempt to tailor the script to suit an OTT audience.
All pivotal cops in the show are more or less share a similar DNA. When a superior officer tells Kabir that he’s family, he genuinely means it. Physical violence is their instinctive response, they take pride in wearing the uniform, are curt with their responses and experience a void in their personal lives. All of them get adequate screen space, slow-motion shots to flaunt their fitness levels.
While Kabir is coming to terms with his wife’s death to a terminal illness, Vikram is guilty about not spending enough time with his young son and wife. Tara, in a tomboyish avatar, means business at work, even if she doesn’t get along smoothly with Kabir and Vikram. Zarar a.k.a Haider, a terrorist, masquerades as a perfumer and falls for a free-spirited neighbour Nafeesa.
The show barely merits its four-hour runtime and is a bloated version of a malnourished film script. The directors – Rohit Shetty, Sushwanth Prakash – don’t give the viewer adequate scope to digest the proceedings and pack the show with multiple events without any strong emotional buildup. The pacing is rather uneven and the philosophical musings dilute the impact further.
The subplots, the tiresome backstories have no complexity or larger understanding of the socio-political scenario and don’t create any intrigue. The ‘good Muslim’ – ‘bad Muslim’ analogy, comparing the loyalty of a righteous central character and a delusional antagonist towards the nation, is rather unwarranted in the polarised times we live amidst.
But for Tara and another character in the terrorist’s camp, most women are vulnerable, restricted to their households, packing tiffins for the men and gleeing/sobbing like there’s no tomorrow. There’s no solid drama to hold the show together, the romance segments are a snooze fest and the detailing is laughable (watch out how the officers flee Dhaka to reach India in the final episode).
Indian Police Force gains some momentum when the backdrop shifts to Goa and Dhaka later. The action choreography (excepting the confrontation between Kabir and Zarar in Dhaka) is still lazy; the mettle of the officers remains untested for a major part. The show relies too much on its visual style, appeal of its star-studded cast more than the storytelling.
Sidharth Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty and Vivek Oberoi have the right persona to play on-screen cops, though the dull characterisation doesn’t offer them any scope to push their limits. Moreover, they’re no powerhouse performers to elevate the show from its ordinariness. In fact, it’s Mayyank Tandon as Zarar, who puts up a spirited, confident performance as a terrorist with a dark past.
Nikitin Dheer, Isha Talwar and Shweta Tiwari are wasted in inconsequential roles while Sharad Kelkar is expected to have a meatier part in the next season (if it materialises). Well-known faces like Mukesh Rishi, Mrinal Kulkarni and Rituraj Singh don’t get to make their presence felt in this chaos either. Vaidehi Parshurami has a charming screen presence despite her poorly crafted role.
It’s disappointing how Rohit Shetty refuses to adapt to the needs of the digital medium and churns out a mediocre show which has little merit beyond its star-studded lineup. Neither the writing nor the performances, action sequences make an impact.