Seven years after he portrayed Mumbai Police’s encounter specialist, Daya Nayak on screen, Nana Patekar returns in another realistic cop avatar. This time, his character, ACP Hanumant Singh in Shagird, is believed to be based on slain ACP Rajbir Singh of Special Operations Squad, Delhi Police.
Director Tigmanshu Dhulia denies the rumour, reasoning that his Hanumant Singh is in contrast to Nana’s Sadhu Agashe in Ab Tak Chhappan. “As opposed to the upright cop he played there, he’s not only corrupt, but also witty and humourous in my film,” he explains.
He concedes that a colleague of ACP Hanumant Singh is called Rajvir in the film. As for setting his film in the capital, Dhulia points out that cops and underworld stories set in Mumbai have been done to death: “Delhi is the centre of power, and an interesting territory to explore given the nexus of cops and politicians.”
But a crew member associated with Shagird insists that Nana’s character is based on the slain ACP of Delhi Police. “While he was lauded for his work, he was also allegedly involved with the land mafia,” our source elaborates, adding that Rajbir Singh was accused of being involved in an illegal land deal in 2007.
“He was killed by a property dealer in Gurgaon in 2008. Since Rajbir was involved in controversial cases, Tigmanshu doesn’t want the connection to jeopardise Shagird,” reiterates our source.