Directors: Rohit Shetty, Sushwanth Prakash
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Sharad Kelkar, Mayyank Taandon, Mukesh Kumar Rishi, Vaidehi Parashurami, Shweta Tiwari, Nikitin Dheer
Where: Streaming on Amazon Prime
Rating: 2.5 stars
The mere mention of the Indian Police Force conjures an image of the guardians of society who don the uniform, navigating the complex tapestry of law and order in the world’s largest democracy. They come in various shapes, sizes, demeanours, and dispositions, undeterred and unwavering in their commitment to protect and serve and for whom duty, honour, and sacrifice converge on the chaotic streets of justice. Sounds impressive, but alas!
With this series, Directors Rohit Shetty and Shushwanth Prakash attempt to showcase the slice of the lives of such officers. Instead, they give us an insight into the lives of Kabir Malik (Siddharth Malhotra) and his boss, IPS Officer Vikram Bakshi (Vivek Oberoi), of the Special Force, Delhi Police. How they must deal with a spineless minister, protocols, “transfers for the betterment of the department,” and their personal lives form the crux of the series.
The expectations are high as we anticipate an immersive journey, and true enough, the first episode, titled Delhi Police Raising Day, begins on a dramatic note with a tragic and devastating event that shakes the foundation of the Delhi Police ironically on that titular day itself.
The chaos of the scene is astutely crafted, but its soul is missing, and this continues throughout the series, beginning from the first scene between Kabir and his mother, which appears staged.
Investigations reveal that the multiple blasts that took the lives of 250 innocent civilians- were carried out by an operative of the Indian Mujahadeen, whom the officers term “The Ghost Who Bombs.”
Narrated in a non-linear manner and typical Bollywood style, with songs et al the story thence funnels into a cat-and-mouse chase trying to identify and arrest “India’s most wanted terrorist”. Thus, with an obsolete and oft-seen story that offers nothing constructive, entertaining, or novel, IPF is like an old wine in a new bottle.
It is only in the sixth episode, titled The Truth, that some life lessons are revealed in the thicket of the forest that tugs the emotional chord.
The plot, loaded with cinematic liberties and perfunctorily staged, flits from Delhi to Azamgarh in UP to Dharbanga in Bihar, to Jaipur, Goa, Kanpur, Sundarban in West Bengal, and across the border to Dhaka in Bangladesh. The wide-angle shots capturing the landscape are enchanting.
Sidharth Malhotra, Vivek Oberoi, and Shilpa Shetty as Gujarat’s ATS Chief Tara Shetty are sincere in the portrayal of their characters, but it is the unassuming soft demeanour of Mayank Taandon who essays the role of the terrorist Zarar aka Haider that makes him stand apart. His on-screen chemistry with Vaidehi Parashurami, who plays his wife Naffisa Khan, is palpable. The rest of the cast too delivers strong performances
While the writing is dispassionate and run-of-the-mill, every scene, including the action sequences, is mounted with spectacular brilliance and carries the indelible stamp of Rohit Shetty.
Overall, while the series is moderately engaging and ends with a hint for season two, the dialogue from the series, “Hum banjare hain batakne ka hunoor koob jante hain,” reverberates in my ears.