Direction: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Cast: Nana Patekar, Mohit Ahlawat
Guns on hire, on either side of law, remain pretty much on the same side of the crooked coin. The police are merely henchmen of the state. This holds true for several mirrors that so-called realistic movies throw up about cops. Not one of them even spares a second to actually figure out how hierarchies within the police really work.
A young man, the shagird (protégé, Mohit Ahlawat) is a sub-inspector, with aspirations of becoming Delhi’s youngest police commissioner some day. His boss, an encounter specialist from the capital’s crime branch, is the sort of dude only Nana Patekar can be: he calls for a Cornetto from the ice-cream vendor, when he’s not popping golgappas, is a connoisseur of old Hindi film music, knows their discographies by heart. Everyone’s in here for the money.
Power corrupts. Absolute power is a mirage. There’re wheels within wheels. This movie gets caught up within each to narrate a thriller that’s cracker in parts, unbearably contrived for most. We start with the fearless encounter cop unit (Nana’s quiet, compelling Ab Tak Chhappan); drive through basic gangsters, builders in the borders of Delhi-UP (Sudhir Mishra’s recent Yeh Saali Zindagi); hop across to complex politics and conniving politicians, who use cops and prisoners as bloodhounds to find their way to the top (again, Nana’s own well-focused Apaharan); and at some point even land up with some journo called Jindal, who writes with equal finesse on Italian cuisine and Bihar’s poverty, is now apparently held hostage by jehadi terrorists (Eh?).
The script may still have seemed quite striking on paper to some. The filmmaker’s just never sure when he’s diving deep into realism, and when he’s completely frikin’ stretchin’ it. The rapid action flick, no wonder, is undone by vastness of its ambitions alone. Politics is the art of compromise, a character in this film reasons. So is a movie, we guess.