Khakee's criminal story: Ardh satya?

Inspector Sadhu Agashe is Mumbai’s Encounter King. His success record: Ab Tak Chhappan. His working styles: He breaks rules, hobnobs with the underworld, has repeated conversations with a Dubai-based don and believes ‘You Gotta Kill ‘coz You Gotta Kill.’ More importantly, he works for a boss who takes his orders from the ruling mafia don. Like many other bosses that have come and gone before him in Bollywood.

Gangaajal, Khakee, Ab Tak Chhappan... do real-life cops also have to operate in a twilight zone between good and evil, right and wrong?

No, says ACP Rajbeer Singh, Special Cell. ‘‘Real-life cops always work within the limits prescribed by the law. A real policeman will never hobnob with criminals. Our network is so well developed, we can nab them ourselves. It’s rubbish, all that is being projected in these recent film,’’ he says.

Dinesh Bhatt, DCP, Economic Offences Wing, also feels the current spate of films is hogwash. ‘‘The entire police department can’t be branded as criminal because of individual follies. Filmmakers have to show the establishment in a bad light in order to sell their products. The police, being the long arm of the establishment, becomes the most obvious target. Why must movies and the media demonise us?’’ he asks.

The truth, however, may lie somewhere between. As Deependra Pathak, DCP, Crime Branch, says: ‘‘Of course we need to mingle with criminals to get vital information. It is a double-edged sword and good cops always have to stay detached.’’ But that, he feels, does not always happen. ‘‘But the police department has a very effective vigilance system to bring errant cops to book,’’ he adds.

Even as the police machinery offers diverse views on the issue, the film world firmly believes that there is more to khakidom than what is shown on the screen. ‘‘There has been a certain straitjacketing of cops in films. But that does not mean that we are guilty of perpetuating villains where none exist,’’ says Mahesh Bhatt.

Maxwell Pereira, former joint commissioner, gives a clearer picture. ‘‘It’s nice to say that cops should always be honest. But their work profile does not let them remain infallible. They do break rules and are forced to spend long hours with criminals. The element of criminality is much more dangerous inside a law enforcer,’’ he cautions.

So, will the Untouchable please stand up!

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