Cops can make your heart beat faster than usual, especially in a city where they actually work, like the helmet-loving Chandigarh. But it’s hard to find one who’d make you skip a beat. You won’t want to call this one a ‘thulla’ or ‘shapata’, certainly not ‘mama’ - meet sub-inspector Harinder Singh Sekhon.
His abs hide behind the uniform, but the Greek-god face and a sculpted body, topped with aviators and a cap, make khaki sexy again. Not that he doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to do anything with his assets. Last month, Sekhon was the showstopper at Premia India Runway Week in New Delhi. He says he’s been offered roles in TV and Bollywood and wants to take these up on the side. It seems natural progression for the four-time Mr Chandigarh (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005), except that his bosses seem to blow hot over his screen-scorching abilities.
But here’s the thing. Sekhon, not in uniform, had got into an argument with some young men in Sector 35. They had brandished a pistol and even thrashed Sekhon, but fellow cops had reached the spot and the matter ended in a compromise. The area police in-charge said it was a minor scuffle, no case was registered. And it happened over a month ago.
I dare believe the real reason lies in what the IGP, who happens to look a lot like my strict math teacher, said further: “… otherwise also, he had participated in a fashion show without any permission from the department. His statement to the media about going to Mumbai after the Prime Minister’s visit on September 14 (to sign some movies and serials) is also uncalled for. [Police] are not supposed to share information about official visits of dignitaries without any reason.” The permission part is understandable, but it’s the timing of the action and the strangeness of the second argument that reveals the latent opposition to his naach-gaana ambitions. Well, he was sharing his own plans; it’s not the PM who’s visiting Mumbai to sign a movie!
I’m not implying that the delectable Sekhon is squeaky clean. Just so that you know, he’s been accused and got the clean chit in three cases - drug nexus, torturing a man and slapping a junior. But this is about his convention-defying ambitions that perhaps make him uncomfortably human for a cop. Aren’t cops supposed to be insensitive, moral-thrusting, couple-harassing, anti-kissing, bribe-seeking beasts? Salman Khan may look hot and be a do-gooder, but Chulbul Pandey defies no convention in ‘Dabangg’ as he is rude, impulsive and treats his woman like an object except when lip-syncing to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s romantic song for her.
Sekhon says most people think police officers are lazy, pot-bellied, impolite and incompetent, and then underlines that there are now constables who are post-graduate, polite and efficient. He can change people’s perception by - to borrow Salman Khan’s favourite phrase - ‘being human’. Like any other kid in your neighbourhood who wants to be a policeman, an actor and a sportsman, Sekhon was an athlete as a student, has been a cop since 1997 and now also wants to try out acting. If the leave policy of the department allows a window for vacations and actually encourages sports activities, why should he be stopped?
(On a tangent, in fact, I’ve for long believed that another senior police officer who is due to be posted out of Chandigarh soon should give showbiz a shot, even though he is graying.)
The obvious discomfort over Sekhon’s showbiz ambitions stems not only from our society’s what’s-this-naach-gaana attitude, but also from a real possibility that he may embarrass the police department. Well, not that the cops in the field have any lack of expertise in that department. But for a big change in the police’s image, no amount of seminars can do what a do-gooder cop played on screen by an actual cop can. That’s a chance worth taking.
P.S: Ladies, sorry to disappoint you, Mr Sekhon is married. His wife is in the police too.