Sanjay Dutt, who plays Mahadev Bhosle, a feared name in the Mumbai police force in Ram Gopal Varma’s Department, insists the ATS you will see in reel life is different from that in real life. “Our film is set in a time when officers like Daya Nayak and Pradeep Sharma were deployed to do away with the underworld instead of fighting terrorists,” says the actor.
He says that his character is not modelled on either Pradeep or Daya whom he knows personally, but given a chance, he’d like them to see the movie and give their opinion. The action-drama hasn’t given him any particular insight into their lives, but he’s developed a high regard for the men in khaki. “In New York City, one policeman is responsible for the safety and security of three civilians.
In Mumbai, it’s one cop for 1,500 people. These officers are on duty 24x7 without proper equipment or perks. They need an immediate pay hike. That’s always a great incentive. Even I tried for one, but no one wants to pay me more money,” he smiles.
"We have no idea how the cops will react to Department, it’s not set in real time as reported, but is a well researched story conceived by Ramu (producer-director Ram Gopal Varma). It’s about the suffering inflicted upon honest police officers by those in power, followed by a transfer if they don’t toe the line,” says Sanjay Dutt. The ATS has recently sparked off headlines for tracking infiltrated terrorists and convincing some of those trained across the border to reform.
“I’m nobody to comment on newspaper reports but our police force needs to be applauded,” says Dutt, who has received an invitation to the annual Mumbai Police Awards several times. “I’ve been away so I couldn’t go but I’ll surely be there if they want me next time,” he says. Meanwhile, since RGV surprised everyone by announcing the film’s release date suddenly, there’s been a strong buzz that Department, that’s lagging in post-production, could miss its May 18 deadline.
“The date didn’t come up suddenly. Viacom 18, the co-producers of the film, believed all along that it was Good Friday and would never have pushed ahead with an incomplete film,” says Sanjay.
Has Dutt rendered a song in the film himself? “No, I’ve not sung. I just have dialogues in the song, about the police department, my character and underworld activities,” he responds. “I hope this dialoguebaazi makes as big an impact as the lines rendered by Agneeptah’s Kancha Cheena,” he adds.