Indian Police Force review: Rohit Shetty goes long, but not higher | Web Series - Hindustan Times
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Indian Police Force review: Rohit Shetty goes long, but not higher in debut web series with Sidharth Malhotra

ByDevansh Sharma
Jan 19, 2024 02:09 PM IST

Indian Police Force review: Rohit Shetty's streaming debut is wired very differently from his tentpole movies, but that doesn't imply it's any better.

Indian Police Force Review: Rohit Shetty claimed that he didn't have to change any gears while making his debut series, Indian Police Force. He said the scale was as life-sized, and the small screen didn't prevent him from going big. But when you watch the show, you soon realise it's not your regular Rohit Shetty fare. Of course, cars blow up and cops walk in slow motion, but not throughout the seven episodes.

Indian Police Force review: Sidharth Malhotra makes his series debut in Indian Police Force.
Indian Police Force review: Sidharth Malhotra makes his series debut in Indian Police Force.

(Also Read: Rohit Shetty reacts to claims of glorifying police brutality with his films: ‘Darr hona zaruri hai, okay to get trolled')

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Long shot

For starters, there's no hero worship in Indian Police Force. Or even if there is, it's of the entire force, instead of a singular cop like Singham, Simmba or Sooryavanshi. In that case, it's a smart choice to cast Sidharth Malhotra, who doesn't really own a large personality, but makes for an efficient representation of the police force. He gets the physicality, gait, posture, and the default economy of expressions just right for any young, aspiring police officer out there.

Secondly, for a Rohit Shetty directorial, Indian Police Force has its fair share of surprisingly intimate moments. There's one where Sidharth's character of Kabir and his mother (played by Mrinal Kulkarni) discuss how it's like to bounce back from a loved one's death. And how Kabir then passes on the same wisdom to his fellow officer's wife after he dies on duty. Also, while we've seen Simmba, Sooryavanshi, and Singham team up to take on the bad guys, rarely do we see them share a quick breather over cutting chai like folks in Indian Police Force do, while leaning against their SUVs in signature Rohit Shetty fashion.

Also read: Sidharth Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty are on a deadly mission in Rohit Shetty's debut web series

Thirdly, Rohit Shetty did show a backstory for the bad guy Omar (Jackie Shroff) in Sooryavanshi, but it felt a bit rushed through. In the show though, Rohit and his co-writers Vidhi Ghodgaonkar, Anusha Nandakumar, and Sandeep Saket get the chance to flesh out the villain's backstory in detail. But the aesthetic and impact of that track feel so sub-par as if helmed by a lesser director.

Rohit and his former AD Sushwanth Prakash have co-directed the show. The pale personality of the villain is eclipsed only by the smart casting of Mayyank Tandon, another member of Rohit's AD team who makes his acting debut. He's the kind of villain whose superpower lies in his ability to merge into the crowd, instead of a menacing larger-than-life supervillain persona.

Fourthly, if you run an eye through that writers list again, you won't be surprised when I say that women have more than a precious little to do in this Rohit Shetty world. For starters, it's a much-awaited breath of fresh air to see Shilpa Shetty get the hero's entry. She's the no-nonsense tough cop who unleashes herself on the bad guys whenever she gets a chance. While she's been strategically awarded a senior position so that she doesn't jump into the field that often, one hopes to see more of her in bare-knuckled action.

Beyond the dead wife (Isha Talwar) and the loving mother of the hero, we do see some flashes of minor women characters making a mark. These include Shweta Tiwari in an unexpectedly moving bit as a cop's wife, Shruti Panwar as a terrorist who takes on a male cop, Vaidehi Parshuramani as a terrorist's wife who wants her husband to be punished, and a terrorist's mother who disowns her son's corpse. But yet, one craves to see a full-fledged Rohit Shetty cop, which Deepika Padukone might just give us in the upcoming Singham Again.

It's a cop's life

Rohit Shetty's cop universe so far has been fronted by invincible men. But in Indian Police Force, it happens for the first time in the cop-verse that a major character dies. It immediately raises the stakes and justifies the long-form storytelling. This is a Rohit Shetty world where cops die on field, officers are penalised for breaking protocol, and nabbing the most wanted criminal isn't a quick-fix job. The long format shows the actual pace of a cop's life: a lot of obstructions for every small win.

There are exciting action sequences with fascinating settings: Chandni Chowk, Dona Paula in Goa, a car chase sequence in Dhaka, in a fishing warehouse, and even on a yatch. Most of these are shot with handheld cameras, lending an urgency and tangibility to the proceedings. But many of these are fast-forwarded on the editing table. That's not ideally how you ensure pace, especially in a show that, for most part, just chugs along.

Do we really turn to Rohit Shetty to watch a realistic cop drama? For that, we have Delhi Crime on Netflix India. The fact is that when one zooms in, all these obstructions only hamper a ride that could've been far smoother. We don't want SUVs to manoeuvre through the hurdles in a Rohit Shetty production. We want them to either race through the obstacle course or get bowled over in the process. What's even a Rohit Shetty SUV that waits for the green light at a traffic signal?

Indian Police Force is streaming on Prime Video India.

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