Singham returned to theatres this Independence Day & as expected smashed the box office records. I must admit that I too am a sucker for such movies especially when Ajay Devgan potrays the role of a honest, muscular, gun wielding police officer because I think only he can do justice to such a role. I too sat in the theatre in anticipation, first day 5th show to see how Bhajirao Singham would beat up the corrupt netas, clean up the system & rescue us all!
Ajay Devgan’s entry as expected was met with seeties , applause & a roar not just in the background score but also by the audience. And when he slaps the youngster for offering him a bribe right at the start, the crowd in the theatre just couldn’t hold back their laughter. And it is one scene which probably only the Indian audience would find funny. One mainly because of the fact that the surety of an aam aadmi offering a bribe to a policeman is equal to that of Daya being able to to break open a darwaaza.Secondly, Singham actually slaps him for even having the thought of offering a bribe, an act that is alien & unheard of & hence heroic to the audience.
Cut to real life. The moment you think of the Indian Police, you picture pot bellied men in uniform with a stick who’s only aim in life is to hide behind parked vehicles on the pavement & pounce on you to check if you are wearing a helmet or not & then take a bribe to let you go. Or the one who sits in the station & will do your passport verification quickly ONLY if you give him him some incentive. Or the typical Indian Bollywood Police which always arrives at the crime scene late to take in the baddies after the hero has saved the day. Or the corrupt policeman who will do anything to keep the corrupt neta happy. Or Salman Khan as Chulbul Pandey.
One of the most intriguing items I read about our real life Singhams was in Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai. It was an encounter involving Dawood’s sharpshooter Dilip Buwa & the police. The police team was a 11 member team headed by Jhunjharrao Gharal & Iqbal Sheikh. The author says that there were only 5 bullet proof vests. And that’s when Iqbal & Gharal said that they would go into the encounter without the vests. It’s the sort of thing that gives you goosebumps when you read it. Something that would get the applause in the cinema halls but no one would notice in real life except for a small headline saying “2 police officers killed in an encounter”. This incident ofcourse was then made into a movie “Shootout at Lokhandwaala.” And if you go through his book you’ll come across various real life instances of more brave police encounters or instances of when an officer was transferred just for doing the right thing.
We need not go back in history to find real police heroes. Recently one of the traffic policeman in Bangalore, Constable Bhaskar who is lovingly called ‘Singham Bhaskar’ was hailed on Facebook. His smiling demeanour & ever helpful nature made him win hearts all over CV Raman Nagar turned him into a celebrity on Facebook overnight. Stories of him manning the traffic in heavy rains because its his duty are all over the net.
You want more examples? Here’s an image circulating on Facebook of 2 traffic policemen, Mr Tukaram & Mr Satyanarayana who were so tired of waiting for the potholes of their work area to be repaired that they took it upon themselves to do it!
Being a policeman is not easy. The poor facilities & salary are known to all. Singham slaps a young boy when he does something wrong just to correct him. If one of our policemen tried to stop a influential youngster from doing something wrong, let alone slap him, he would get the usual “Do you know who my father is?” dialogue & probably be transferred the next day. I wonder what your reaction would be if you offered a bribe to a policeman & he says “Aata majhi satakli” & slaps you in return angrily.
Yes there are lazy policemen. I too have come across pot bellied vultures in khakhi uniforms, but to taint the entire police force just because of a few rotten eggs is unfair to the many hardworking souls. If there are policemen ready to take bribes, that’s only because there those who offer bribes. If there are lazy policemen, its only because our system is spineless to correct those men. If better salaries and facilities are provided probably we wouldn’t have so many corrupt policemen. Standing in the heat 12 hours a day, manning traffic in the dust, listening to abuses from drivers & then going home to a meager salary with family problems will break even the best. Even you must’ve circulated the picture below on Whatsapp comparing the US police & Indian police as a joke. But the truth is that if our police department had training, facilities & money like they do even our policemen would look something like them.
And is there any profession bereft of these rotten eggs? Be it politicians, lawyers, religious men… all of them have them. Aamir Khan thinks we doctors are the most corrupt (Which doesnt mean that I agree with him, but that’s a discussion for another day). Even cricketers are tainted! So if you can run to a cricketer to get his autograph or take a selfie with him, then why should you be afraid to approach a cop with your problem?
This post is a contribution to INDISPIRE , a Indiblogger.com initiative. Click on the link to read more articles n the same topic