Review: 'Indian Police Force' is a frolic & fierce entry in cop universe with a fistful of Rohit Shetty flavor
Mass and sass are synonymous with Rohit Shetty, who has managed to have an almost 100 per cent track record at the box office and popularity, but here, with the web series Indian Police Force, he ventures into unfamiliar territory.
Published: Thursday,Jan 18, 2024 18:30 PM GMT-07:00
Indian Police Force
Who knew that Rohit Shetty, a believer and propeller of the big-screen experience, would ever do an OTT show? Mass and sass are synonymous with the man who has managed to have an almost 100 per cent track record at the box office and popularity, but here, with the web series Indian Police Force on Amazon Prime Video, he ventures into unfamiliar territory with the format but not with his would-building.
The creator of the now stuffed and star-studded cop universe, Shetty has extended its possibilities beyond the big screen to the web as well. Even here, there are enough notable names to have your interest piqued and get on this ride. How does Shetty, his co-director Sushwant Prakash and the rest of the team fare? Is this another bland chapter in the gradually repetitious cop world, or is it a fresh take on proceedings? Having had the chance to see the entire seven episodes beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
Lack of Novelty Backed By Adrenaline-Rushing Action
Calling a spade a spade here - novelty isn't Shetty or this cop universe's forte by any means. Hence, here with the Indian Police Force as well, that expectation should be flown out of the window. The blueprint is as basic, formulaic and unvaried as you would have imagined it to be. The entire idea of 'cops-being-the-best-fighting-for-their-lives' vs 'terrorism-but-not-all-Muslims-are-bad' is an incredibly worn-out concept that Shetty and so many others have dabbled with multiple times now.
However, to my surprise, with that dusty idea, Shetty and Prakash weave a world of moments that leave you hooked and invested thoroughly. That is what long-format storytelling does. With no barrier of time, the creators allow you to feel for the characters at your own pace as they move towards a crescendo. What is also amazingly surprising is that, unlike his signature style, Shetty realises that the audience who will watch this show is broader and different from the ones that come at the movies and adapt accordingly. I mean, when was the last time you saw a Rohit Shetty presentation without flying men and flying cars? Shetty and his action team design realistic, believable and yet adrenaline-rushing and heart-pounding action set pieces, which are just as impactful and whistle-worthy as his over-the-top action pieces in the movies has been.
Does Have Enough Rohit Shetty Flavor With Forgiving Runtime
The director is also usually criticised for his formulaic portrayal and beliefs towards Islam even though it preaches to be progressive. Here, Shetty is cognizant of that as well and again; this is courtesy of long-form storytelling where he has gotten the chance to knit and present characters who play Muslims and allow you to organically feel for them as opposed to just downed with a couple of preachy monologues. The characters of Nafisa (Vaidehi Parshurami) and, in fact, Kabir Malik (Sidharth Malhotra) himself are well written and presented, which makes an impact.
Also, don't misunderstand that there is a lack of hero moments here because, again, what would be a Rohit Shetty presentation without some commercial potboiler flavour, right? A few slo-mo entries, a couple of songs, incredibly shot drone takes of chase sequences, a few flying cars (towards the end), and a brilliantly built-up entry for Sharad Kelkar's character are those Rohit Shetty usuals that you sign up for and relish.
Indian Police Force has also benefitted from good casting choices where Shilpa Shetty, playing the first female cop (technically) in this universe, is a win. Even though she has her moments of forced emotions when shown to be angry, with some sleek action pieces and her undeniably dynamic presence, she shines as Tara. Even with no arc, Nikitin Dheer is fabulous as the big man police officer Rana, who is a constant aid to the Special Cell unit; new guy Maayank Tandon as Zarar/Haider is one the more underwhelming performers as not only does he lack the screen presence that instils terror, but he is also underwhelming in channelling the backstory that is shown to be one of the reasons for him to resort to the choices he is making. Sidharth Malhotra looks sleek, macho and towering as the central man, Kabir Malik, who has several emotions to play with, which include grief, angst and, of course, patriotism. Apart from a few blanks the actor is still struggling with, Malhotra is rather great in the forefront.
For me though, the most impactful one (apart from Kelkar), is Vivek Oberoi. As Malik's senior and an elder brother-like figure, Oberoi, as Vikram Bakshi, understands the assignment and does full justice to it. One needs to utilise Oberoi's now veteran-like acting prowess so much more.
Indian Police Force does suffer from all the aforementioned gaps, especially with the core conflict of how some resort to terrorism, but an understated treatment while not compromising on the entertainment while making-it-riveting factor is what makes the show and its forgiving seven episodes averaging about 35 minutes each a delightful watch.
While wrong would be a harsh word, somehow, Rohit Shetty rights almost several 'wrongs' that he is usually criticised for when it comes to the movies, even though the storyline is just another basic entry to the universe. In doing so, we get a fun, frolic and fiesty series that keeps you on the edge of the seat.
Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)