Mumbai Police: Did Not See That Coming!

Such a surprisingly good movie!  Okay, that sounds insulting to police films.  Such a surprisingly different movie!  It looks like the standard police film, everyone has a mustache and the title is even “Mumbai Police“.  But then, right away, it’s clear that it really really isn’t.

We open with a car accident (like Talaash!  Another surprisingly different police film!).  And the next thing we see is two men in a car, Rahman and Prithviraj, Rahman telling the other that Prithviran that he has amnesia, but he is a police officer, and so is Rahman, and they are best friends.  And I’m all in!  Already!  This is such a great set-up!

And it builds on that idea in such an interesting way, exploring identity and machismo and ethics.  At first, I thought that it would be that everyone is lying to our hero, and this is all an elaborate scam of some kind, taking advantage of the poor amnesia patient.  But then we see pretty quickly that random folks like his neighbors and his colleagues all address him the same way and treat him as the same person, so if it is a scam, it’s some crazy Jewel Thief/Bluffmaster level scam where absolutely everyone who interacts with him is in on it.

Then my second thought was that it would be like Ghajani, we see him struggle to understand what happened to him and mourn his past life.  We get a little of that, when he meets with the doctor and struggles to relate to his sister, and remember something as basic as his brand of cigarettes.

(The doctor is played by Shweta Menon in a cameo, which gives me an excuse to once again show this song clip!)

But then it goes in a really interesting direction.  Slowly we watch Prithviraj learn more about himself and his past life, and come to dislike the person he used to be.  Okay, it doesn’t sound that interesting when I write it out, but it is interesting in how they do it.

At first, our present day hero aspires to be that person from the past.  His past self had friends and respect, confidence, an awareness of his place in the world.  And we, the audience, wish he was that past person as well.  When we start to get flashbacks to his life before the accident, he is confident and passionate and smart.  Much more interesting than this watered down sad person we are stuck with now.

But as the flashbacks continue, we start to see cracks in his past-self.  He goes over the line when interrogating a suspect, grabbing his wife and molesting her to force a confession, to the point that Prithviraj’s own (female) team member is uncomfortable with what he is doing.  He is violent and angry with another suspect.  And his team members seem slightly awkward with him, like they are used to unpredictable outbursts and rages.

What is interesting is how the concept of the police character and police films weave in and out of this.  His past-self is the prototypical Police hero.  Confident, violent, goes over the line but gets things done.  The film is questioning audience perceptions and expectations of such a character, showing how present day hero is himself buying into that kind of hero-worship, craving that kind of confidence.  In the same way that we, the audience, enjoy living vicariously through these violent powerful characters, so is the character onscreen wishing he had that past life back.

(There were literally dozens of songs I could have chosen to represent the macho police hero.  But I like this one because of the weird little belt thing)

When the cracks start to appear, at first it seems like the usual “oh, they just don’t understand his greatness and the toll it takes” kind of thing.  His neighbors complain about his noise and drinking, in the same breath that they complain about his fight the night before against unknown assassins.  It feels all of a piece, like the constant danger of his job must drive him to drink, and they just don’t understand.  Even his misbehavior with suspects, perhaps, is part of his greatness, that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get a confession.

But then we get the introduction of Jayasurya’s character in flashbacks.  We saw him briefly earlier, in a recording of a speech, he is the victim of the murder that Prithviraj is investigating, and he was getting an award when he was shot.  He only got a few sentences into the speech before dying, but it was an odd opening.  He said that he was a terrible police officer, he didn’t belong on the force, and he never knew what he was doing.  What’s up with that?

I thought it was false modesty, that we would discover our victim was the best cop of them all.  But right away the flashbacks start to question that.  Yes, his wealthy family ignores him, he ended up in the police force by accident, and he is in love with a sweet young teacher.  All of that matches up with your standard “and then he finds the hero within himself!” kind of coming of age cop story.  But as it unfolds, it doesn’t quite go that way.

Jayasurya really doesn’t belong on the police force.  He gets into a fight with the Navy on his first night, and Prithviraj has to rescue him.  He never seems terribly excited or interested in his duties.  And he isn’t that brave either.  He never stands up to his family, and when he gets into a fight at a party, it is up to Prithviraj to rescue him from it.

The relationship between Prithviraj and Jayasurya, and the third friend and Prithviraj’s brother-in-law, Rahman, becomes the heart of the film.  And what the title of the film refers to.  All 3 of them served time in Bombay before being assigned to Cochi.  The title implies the whole machismo ridden super-hero attitude of the Bombay cops, and how the 3 of them work together, above the rules and beyond the law.

Or are they really “Mumbai Police” types?  Or is it just Prithviraj, with the other two following along and cleaning up his mess?  There is a telling scene late in the film when Prithviraj and Jayasurya are at Rahman and Prithviraj’s sister’s apartment.  Prithviraj is stretched out on the sofa, arms outspread, big grin, fully using both his size and his mustache to remind us, even in civilian clothes, that he is a police officer.  Jayasurya looks soft and small next to him, and Rahman looks nervous, moving around the room. Prithviraj is the only one of them really comfortable with this persona, the other two can feel that it doesn’t fit them, but are unable to resist Prithviraj’s charisma.

And now there is present day Prithviraj, trying to put all this together, to make sense of his past actions and how they lead to Jayasurya being murdered, and Rahman trusting him to solve the case.  And at the same time, present day Prithviraj coming to cling more and more to that “Mumbai Police” identity and his friendship with Jayasurya and Rahman, as he begins to realize that it was the cleanest and best thing in his past life.

All of this is a fascinating movie on its own.  Deconstructing the “Police Hero” film archetype, using amnesia to draw a line and show the same actor playing a false “Hero”, one who uses intimidation and power to do whatever he wants, versus a real “Hero” who follows the leads and patiently works the case, while respecting his co-workers and witnesses, that is all wonderful!  Almost a Ram Aur Shyam type thing, only with amnesia instead of doppelgangers.

(Like, if Prem Ratan Dhan Payo had been about Prince-Salman getting amnesia and a new personality)

And then they expand the idea, creating 3 separate standard police film archetypes, the hothead with the heart of gold (Prithviraj), the poor little rich boy trying to find himself (Jayasurya), and the wise old man who guides them both (Rahman).  Only, again, these aren’t heroes.  We start to see that Rahman is seriously concerned about the two others, it isn’t just a matter of him feeling the need to reprimand them but not meaning it, he really does think they are going to far.  And Prithviraj’s protection of Jayasurya, and Jayasurya’s worship of Prithviraj in return starts to feel unhealthy for them both.  Jayasurya is following blindly where he leads, and Prithviraj is getting too confident in his own powers.  This whole relationship is bringing out not just the best in them (Jayasurya’s loyalty, Prithviraj’s protectiveness, Rahman’s wisdom), but also the worst, in a way that the usual “might-makes-right” police films don’t show us.

Which is why the murder case they are trying to solve is so complicated.  It is all tied up with Prithviraj’s anger and vengeance, and Jayasurya’s own efforts at hiding things out of his loyalty to Prithviraj.  Like, that speech he was going to give, when we finally hear the whole thing, was about his guilt for letting Prithviraj convince him to take the credit for Prithviraj’s heroic actions, and he was shot before he could tell a truth that could only serve to hurt himself.  Who would care so much about Jayasurya’s honor, and so little about the man himself?  And what effect does Rahman looking the other way while they perpetrated this fraud have?  Or Prithviraj’s incomprehensible generosity?

Again, all of that is a fascinating movie on its own, how this toxic masculinity that we worship in police films can lead to misery and murder.  But then the last 20 minutes come along and it all becomes so much deeper!


After going into the case in depth, trying to understand his motivations for the way he directed the investigation before the accident, trying to atone for and understand the irrational way he acted with suspects and his own underlings, and coming to care for and understand the murder victim after seeing him through the eyes of witnesses and his own case notes, Prithviraj has still hit a brick wall.  He only has two more days to solve the case before he is taken off it, thanks to the request of his own team members who find his irratic behavior disturbing.  We, the audience, are primed for the big Revelation!! moment these films always have.  Just when it looks darkest, he is going to see something that reminds him of something else, solve the case, deliver the murderer, and go on to live his life a chastened and better man, having seen his past behavior in a new light.

(Like Talaash.  Which is a very different police film in almost every way, but still had our hero solve it all at the last minute)

And then the big solution revelation comes, but it comes very strangely.  I’m trying to think how to recreate the effect in words, how the filmmakers set it up.  I guess it goes back to Prithviraj’s first night in his apartment.  He plays the phone messages left for him while he was in the hospital.  There is his sister, worried about him.  An unknown voice cursing him and saying it serves him right.  And a friend calling, worried and saying he is praying for him.  It’s a nice establishing of the character, that his sister loves him, he is a good friend, and he has his enemies.

Over the course of the film, we get a little more background on each of these messages.  His sister is older than him (I think?) and helped raise him, while their father was distant and is now dead.  They are extremely close, and he worried about her until his brother-in-law entered their lives, and is there to help and support them both now.  The unknown voice is that witness who’s wife he molested, who has not forgotten or forgiven the insult.  But, who is that good friend?  Who never appears in the flashbacks or in the present day, only a voice on the answering machine?  Perhaps he is the man who saw Prithviraj in the street early in the film, the day after he left the hospital, and mentioned that he was glad to see him out and about, and that they would catch up once he returned from his business trip.  But if so, why do none of Prithviraj’s other friends or co-workers seem to know about this man who was close enough to pray for his recovery?

But the movie goes on, and we, the audience, forget about it.  We feel like we have a full picture of past-Prithviraj’s life now, and we are ready to solve the murder case and move on.  Prithviraj feels the same way, having learned what he thinks is the pivotal secret, that past-Prithviraj let Jayasurya take credit for the heroic shooting and that Jayasurya was going to reveal the truth at his medal ceremony.  Present-Prithviraj now knows that he wasn’t all bad in the past, he had some loyalty and sacrifice in him.  Everything is beginning to make sense again.

And then that friend from the answering machine and the street lets himself into Prithviraj’s apartment, kisses him, and goes into the closet to change into the clothes he keeps there.  !!!!!!

I wanted to give all the background before I got into this part, because it is important that this reveal is all of a piece, and yet not quite of a piece, with everything that went before.  There were hints, yes, that missed phone call, the odd friend that no one knows about.  Mentions that Prithviraj never flirts with women.  But mostly, this feels completely out of the blue and as shocking for the audience as it is for Prithviraj himself.

At the same time, though, it doesn’t feel like an unearned shock.  Like the filmmakers just came up with it out of the blue on this day of shooting and weren’t planning it all along.  There weren’t any clues in the traditional sense, but there were little character choices along the way.  Small things, like the extra level of hatred he seemed to have for his father.  The extra concern his brother-in-law had for him.  The way his character kept getting transferred between stations, despite seemingly being a good cop.  The mention that he couldn’t relax and “be himself” until his brother-in-law showed up to take care of his sister.  Down to the way he defended Jayasurya at the party, or rather the way it was shot, more like rescuing a damsel in distress than protecting a friend/adopted little brother.

And our audience reaction to this reveal is allowed to really be investigated, not just thrown out for the “GASP!” reaction and forgotten.  We get to react 2 times, in 2 different ways.  First, Prithviraj himself.  When his boyfriend returns and starts touching him, clearly his lover, Prithviraj is in shock.  The film slows down, the music cranks up, the camera goes at a cocked angle, it’s like a horror movie.  And then he reacts in violence, throwing his boyfriend out of the apartment, forbidding him entrance.  And finally he breaks down in sobs and rending of garments.

(Even his violence feels like it could just as easily be played as sublimated desire, rather than straight anger.  Which reminds me of the excellent fanvideo above!)

It could be played as a “noble man rejecting the filth of homosexuality”.  But it doesn’t, because of all the work that went into this character before, both the past-Prithviraj and the current.  The current one has been confronted with the “sins” of his past over and over again.  He stopped drinking, he stopped smoking, he stopped abusing his power, he is ready to move on and make a fresh start.  But this is one “sin” he can’t get past.  Not because it is so uncountably awful (we will see in a moment that mere guilt is not enough to cause this kind of reaction), but because he knows it is something he can’t just move on from and do better.

The film doesn’t spell it out, and I am torn as to whether I even wish it would have or if it is better left implied, but you can assume that even “New” Prithviraj was still having these desires, and as soon as he was confronted with his past lover, it all clicked into place, and he had to acknowledge the truth he’d known in his heart all along.  So, yes, he is “rejecting homosexuality”, in that he is throwing the evidence of it out of his apartment, but he can’t reject it from his heart as easily as he could everything else he wanted to change, and that is why he sinks into despair as his world shatters.

And then we get to see two more reactions to it, by our two other “Mumbai Police” uber-macho characters.  First, Jayasurya, who we see in a flashback walk in on Prithviraj and his boyfriend together.  He reacts with shock, anger, fear, disapproval, all the emotions you would expect.  Plus the suspicion that Prithviraj had been “grooming” him all along.  But past-Prithviraj, the one who knew this about himself and accepted it to the point of having a longtime lover, reacted with fear of the consequences of Jayasurya’s discovery, but no guilt.  He did not believe what he was doing was a wrong or bad thing.  And, ultimately, we learn that Jayasurya made his peace with it as well, was planning to give a speech extolling Prithviraj’s friendship and bravery, not revealing his secret.

I know this isn’t something my desi readers need a reminder of, but just in case a non-Indian stumbles across this review, remember that homosexuality is still illegal in India.  Jayasurya’s covering up of Prithviraj’s lover isn’t just a matter of helping him hide from society, it is actually becoming complicit in an illegal act which could get both of them thrown off the force.  His initial reaction of shock and disgust is more than balanced by his later decision to look the other way.  And his shock and disgust is both the usual threatened masculinity fear, and a struggle with their shared identity as police officers.  Can Prithviraj be a good officer if he is constantly breaking the law?  Is it Jayasurya’s responsibility as an officer to report law-breaking by his fellow officer?  How could Prithviraj have put him in this position of needing to choose between his responsibility to his job and his responsibility as a friend?

Again, side-note for non-Indian readers, I also find it fascinating that they are using the super macho police force to tell this story.  Not just because of the general idea that even the least stereotypically “queer” person can be gay, but because of the frequent anecdotal evidence that the Indian police force uses the threat of Section 377 to force gay men to provide them with sexual favors.  I don’t know if that’s what the filmmakers were going for, but it is definitely where my mind went, that I already knew the Indian police force must have some at least slightly queer people on it, because someone is molesting all those gay men who have told their stories to reporters and researchers!

I did find it interesting, going back through the film with this new information in mind, that his relationship with Jayasurya still scans as a friendship, just one with slightly romantic overtones.  Not that Prithviraj wanted or planned to seduce him.  The first night they go out together Prithviraj learns very quickly that Jayasurya is not only attracted to women, he is in love and faithful to one woman in particular.  There is no possibility of anything more here, and the film never shows anything that could look like a romantic approach.  But at the same time, the way Prithviraj protected him, and leaped at a closeness, felt more like falling in unrequited love than just an instant friendship.

And, in a meta-textual way, it felt like a comment on how these macho friendships always happen so fast in films and we just accept it.  Think about every single Saif-Akshay movie, how we have no problem with Akshay the action hero so quickly taking Saif the wimp under his wing, how they have a friendship that seems closer than friends, and yet we just go along with it as audience members, because that’s what happens in these movies.  The filmmakers here took our blindspot for these films, just like our blindspot for Prithviraj’s violence and Jayasurya’s poor-little-rich-boy act, and exploited it, making it believable that it was a simple sudden friendship, and nothing more.

(I love this song)

It also adds a new layer to the way Rahman was always just there, observing Prithviraj.  The film never comes right out and says it, but the way I interpreted the looks between the two, I think Rahman always knew or suspected that Prithviraj was gay.  But it could never be said out loud, both because they would both risk being thrown off the force, and it would hurt Prithviraj’s sister/Rahman’s wife.  But Rahman could observe his loneliness, could watch his relationship with Jayasurya develop until it was clear it would not become romantic, could perhaps arrange for the transfer to a new state when he was coming close to being discovered after 4 years at his current posting.

After this reveal, the further discovery that Prithviraj was the murderer is almost beside the point.  Almost, but not quite.  Remember how I said that Prithviraj was just wrecked by his awareness of his homosexuality?  In a way that being a drinker and a smoker and everything else didn’t seem to hurt him?  That carries through even when he realizes he is a murderer.  The murder is something he can atone for, something with clear steps forward.  Being a gay man is something he can never get over, something that will never change.  And, in Indian society right now, it is something that is going to make him miserable.

Oh, one more thing, again this is for people who aren’t Indian and/or spend a lot of time consuming non-Indian products.  The way this story plays out, with the murderous gay man who is punished at the end, is a strong trope in American pop culture right now.  Lots of talk about how the queer character always dies or turns into a killer or is otherwise horrible.  If this was an American movie, it would get called out pretty fast for falling into this trope.  But, it’s not an American movie, it’s an Indian one.  And India doesn’t have a long history of murderous representations of queer characters, or really any representations of queer characters.  So to have Prithviraj, ultra-masculine movie star, in a cop movie with all the cop movie trappings, playing a gay man, is revolutionary!  Even if he ends up being a murderer at the end.

(also, I feel obligated to include a link to my slashfic videos post here, as it seems appropriate to the topic at hand)

28 thoughts on “Mumbai Police: Did Not See That Coming!

  1. Love , love, love this movie. There’s so much packed into it that it really warrants a second watch. I read the twist in a different way though. I saw the twist and prithvi’s reaction as more of a critique of India’s views on homesexuality. I think the people who labeled this movie as homophobic on took it in on the surface level.

    I really can’t see this movie being remade in other languages without being a flop. And surprisingly, it ran pretty well in Kerala.

    *Sad that you didn’t mention the killer BGM.


    • Wait, what’s the killer BGM? What did a miss?

      And I agree that simply labeling it homophobic would be a surface reading. If nothing else, just showing a major star like Prithviraj willing to play a queer character is a huge step forward, no matter the content of the film. Before we look for a perfect representation, let’s have ANY representation!

      And absolutely, I think Prithvi’s reaction was more about his character’s internalized homophobia, which lead him to the point of even hating himself, once he learned this was a truth about himself.


  2. I loved the way they explained that Anthony’s violent and aggressive nature was partly due to his attempt to create a persona so that noone would suspect that he’s a homosexual.But I also think he’d have been violent and aggressive even if he was straight.That’s a part of his character.His anger with his father and society who abandoned him when he was younger.

    I didn’t get the impression that Anthony was attracted to Aryan that way.He seemed to take the younger man under his wing.He was protective of him and identifies with him on account of both of them having sorry excuses for fathers.His hatred of his father is explained by the fact that the latter abandoned him and his younger sister when they were kids.I didn’t get the impression that there was a mother or other relatives to take care of them.He’s a self-made man who clawed his way to success.He’s not ready to give it all up.That kind of explains why he did what he did.Not that it justifies what he did.Plus it didn’t help that the boy-friend was egging him on the whole time.

    And I’m 90% sure that they won’t remake this in Hindi.The script by the Sanjay-Bobby team(they wrote Traffic too) demands a hero who has done this kind of macho policeman roles before.Salman or Akshay might suit.But they won’t dare to touch this script. KJo would love this script and be happy about producing the film and he might cast Siddharth.But unfortunately the latter doesn’t have the acting chops for this kind of a role.

    You had a feeling during Traffic that Rahman was the mastermind behind procuring a heart during Traffic.Well, the scriptwriters have kind of fulfilled your wish here.


    • I was thinking about a Hindi remake too! Maybe John Abraham? He did Dostana. But I don’t know if he would have the acting ability. Randeep Hooda already played a gay character in Bombay Talkies. and he played a cop in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, but he isn’t really a macho hero.

      I think Karan would love to produce it, but I don’t think he could direct it. I would love to see Reema Kagti. who made Talaash, take a stab at it.


  3. Farhan hmm.He’s is too much of a beta hero for this type of a role.The title character should be someone so macho and aggressive that no one should even suspect it.They need a A-lister for it.Reema could be the ideal director and KJo could produce it.I don’t know if they could work together though.Their approach to film making is very different.KJo would insist on at least one item song featuring the three police officers and Alia(It’s about time she did an item song).

    John was interested about producing and acting the movie at a time(trust him to get first dibs on all the best scripts from Kerala due to his Malayali Dad) but gave it up.It is just not viable in Bollywood.The fans wouldn’t like it and the theatres would be afraid of the protesters/rioters.Fawad could get by with his gay role in Kapoor & Sons because it was alluded to -not in your face.Aligarh was critically acclaimed but it was not a commercial success and who cares if Manoj Bajpayee plays a gay man?


    • This isn’t related to anything else, but have you see Bombay Talkies yet? If not, you HAFFFFT to. It proves that Karan can make a legitimately good non-commercial film, he just chooses not to.

      I was fascinated with Kapoor & Sons, how they managed to convey the whole thing without ever using the word “gay”. Which, really, is what Karan does in real life. How do we all know what he is without him ever actually saying it? It’s like some kind of mass telepathy!

      Also, Kapoor & Sons was promoted as an artsy multiplex type film, so the audience who would most object didn’t even know about it. With this, if you promoted it as a multiplex film, you’d kind of be spoiling the twist, you know? It works so much better if it goes along like a standard big action cop movie right up until the end. Talaash kind of suffered from that, I wish I could have seen it not knowing that it was an Aamir Khan movie, it had an artsy director, there was going to be something more than what I was seeing.

      It’s too bad about John Abraham, if he had done it, with his Force/Rocky Handsome director, they could have promoted it as just another action movie and then sprung the twist on us all once we were in the theaters.


  4. I loved Talaash! I am usually not so keen on Aaamir but he won me over in Talaash.Bollywood films are my escape from reality(just like romance novels) and I try to stay away from anything with a whiff of tragedy.Which is why I stayed away from Bombay Talkies.But sometimes they sort of hook me in-like Lootera did with the O.Henry connection.


    • Bombay Talkies is amazing, but mostly I want people to watch the first 20 minutes so they know that Karan Johar can really direct. And also how he really feels about anti-queer prejudice in Indian film.


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  10. Prithviraj’s brother in law is named Rahmaan? The subs on hotstar had it as Farhaan!

    Before I begin on what I thought of the gay angle, let me begin by saying what upset me the most about this film was how they misrepresented IPS cadre rules. You cannot be posted to random states in any of the All-India Services. Cadre rules are pretty strict. You can only be transferred to another state if you get the Union Territory cadre. You can get deputed but those are cream postings that require either stellar service or political patronage. So that’s a funny bit that somehow the filmmakers needed to put in to explain the title and also to explain the terror plot in Hyderabad, Why couldn’t it have been a maoist attack in Kerala?? That’s an odd political track to have in the film and the title is also kinda racist. Mumbai police is actually one of the finest cadres in the country.

    On the gay track/twist. I was upset at how upset Ayan gets. It also upset me that the pilot boyfriend was effeminate. He could have been a regular guy but he does the pointy fingers and toes which was ridiculous!!! Agree with the commentators that the overly alpha character may have been a cover for the homosexuality. But I do think they should have shown the relationship as being more real so it isn’t just the hypre gay boyfriend ranting in the background and more like a partner in love with the guy who is afraid of losing his love more than just reputation. The shallow love track made the reason for his killing of his BFF look a little flimsy.


    • One of the things I want most on earth is a clear detailed flowchart of how the Indian police force works. That’s my dream, someday there will be a CBI episode or a police film that starts with “before I give the briefing on the Big Bad, let me spend twenty minutes outlining the training system, command structure, promotion structure, and geographical organizational system for the Indian Police Force”. Because everyone is supposed to just “know” this stuff, and it is really really really different from how things work in America, so I cannot make any sense of it.

      For what you pointed out, it really feels like they wanted to make meta-commentary on Hindi and Tamil/Telugu films with the way they structured it. Because yeah, the title doesn’t really make sense, it could just as easily be “Kochi Police”. And the whole saving people in Hyderabad doesn’t make sense either.

      I agree with your tweaks to the film, I would have liked Jayasurya to be more “oh whatevs” about finding out and Prithviraj’s tortured guilt and fear of losing everything (not because he is innately sick but because if the sick way society would treat him) to drive it more. Although at least we do get confirmation that Jayasurya came around to more of the “oh whatevs” attitude by the end. Definitely would have liked more of a sense of a real relationship between Prithviraj and his boyfriend.

      But can we just take a moment for the absolute guts it took to make this movie, and for Prithviraj to agree to be in it?

      On Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:43 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • And to actually have an almost-kiss?? Yeah, and he totally sold the character too.

        I still think the romance should have been evolved a bit more because see had it been a girl with some situational problem (married or from another religion, etc) there’s no way the guy would have made the decision on his own. There would be tears and coaxing from the girl too. And what a sucky boyfriend the pilot is!! The man killed his BFF for you bastard!! At least make an effort and show up once in the month following his accident!!
        That’s just me ranting about the relationship though. But I guess it wasn’t important enough in the plot once they had it out as the big reason for why he kills.

        As for the Indian police forces– there’s basically the civilian police and paramilitary forces. The civilian police is more bureaucratic in nature. The Indian Police Services are responsible for domestic law and order and traffic and non-VVIP security.

        Central Bureau of Investigation is close to what the FBI is. Jurisdiction structure is similar too. RA&W is more like CIA. It’s a counter intelligence unit.

        Paramilitary forces like the CRPF supplement law and order in special situations like insurgency and civil unrest. There’s also units like ITBP which supplement defence positions in non-military deployments.

        IPS is the basic police force. It has a constabulary, then ranks ascend to Assistant Sub Inspector, Sub Inspector, Inspector, Deputy Superintendent, Superintendent, Deputy Inspector General and Inspector General.

        Each IG heads a particular department in the police services- traffic, law and order, intelligence, training, etc.

        There are progressively difficult written exams that you need qualify to get commissioned in the service. For example, you’d get recruited to the constabulary with a basic written exam and a physical examination. But for a commission in the IPS, you appear for the full civil service examination which is extensive. You can get commissioned from ASI to DSP ranks directly if you clear the corresponding exam for it. There are set guidelines for promotions and the tank you enter ar determines the rank you may reach by the end of your service. Intelligence and counterintelligence services mostly recruit from trained IPS officers with commission.

        Also, when you’re selected and ready for police academy, you’re given a cadre. You remain in that cadre (for example Himachal Police, Punjab Police, Kerala Police) your entire life unless you get a deputation which is given only if you’re useful to another cadre. Deputations are also usually short term postings.

        Cadres are governed by elected officials and in case an elected government is dissolved, by the President.

        I hope this helped.


        • Helped SO MUCH. See, the thing that is so strange to me is the ASI hero. Who is always our fresh-faced guy on his first posting rooting out corruption and so on. Whereas I am used to that level only being reached through merit and experience, you would rise through the ranks, not magically appear at the top right from the beginning.

          The other thing that is odd to me is the national/not national structure, which the cadre explains. In America, each state, city, village, and so on, has their own totally unique police force. If you moved towns, you would apply to work for their police force with your resume and letters of recommendation and so on from the last town you lived in, but you would be starting from scratch really, just like if you moved towns and went from working at one corporation to another.

          There’s another Malayalam movie Vikramadithyan that I don’t really recommend, it’s fine, but not great, but the whole plot revolves around the police force and civil service exams and they never really explain it in any way, just expect the audience to be able to follow, which of course I couldn’t.

          Oh, also, if you stay awake another 45 minutes, you can see my TGIF post. Just saying.


          • The cadre structure is actually ingrained within our federal structure and I find that fascinating because to me it looks like a prelude to secession. Like, say, if a state decided to just break off from the union of India, they’d have a fully functional civilian police and bureaucractic structure and you can just declare the state assembly your new parliament building and go to work!! It’s ridiculous!

            The commissioning for IPS also falls under the civil services exams. They give us all our bureaucracts– The foreign services, the administrative services, the tax services, the state level bureaucractic, police and tax services, forest services and so on.

            The railways have their own separate examinations and services. The military has their own and so do the medical services. Like, you become a doctor and during your residency at a medical college, you decide if you want to remain in the government’s empty or opt for private practice. If you get employed by the government, you get appointed the Chief Medical Officer or you head a prestigious government institution.

            Engineers get recruited. Like, you ace your IIT exams and government owned companies make you an offer. Which has led us to a fine mess because we now have engineers filling up what as essentially management positions. A degree in business doesn’t get you a job with the government at all.


          • See, what’s crazy to me is how test focused everything is. On the one hand, I am very jealous of the idea that I could do well on one test and be set for the rest of my life. But then on the other hand, that seems like a really nutty way to run things! What if you are a super smart person who just doesn’t test well? Or what if you are a late bloomer who really found yourself in your mid-twenties after all those tests are already done?

            Backing up, so when those new states pop-up, I am just now realizing, this is a nightmare of re-structuring, right? It’s not just “and now we pick a capital city and call it a day because most individual local governments are autonomous”? Everything has to be split up and restructured?

            On Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 1:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • You see the studious Indian stereotype for people from the south? Well the south has an engineering obsession and the North has a civil service obsession. Its a super hard exam that you take 2-3 years out for. You need a bachelor’s degree to apply. An ideal study plan for civil services is close to 14-16 hours daily for 1-2 years. There’s an aptitude test, a general awareness test that may ask you stuff like “name the American rapper who just sold a gazillion records and got his name in a book of records” plus everything else under the sun (you have to learn everything) and a paper on specialised subjects of your choice like history, public administration, language, literature, etc. There’s a preliminary exam and a final exam six months later. Only the top of the merit list qualifies for interviews and you can fail that too. You can apply for this process till you’re 30 if you’re a general carefully student and till 35 if you’re a reserved carefully student. Each year, close to a million students appear just for the all-india services. There are millions more per state for the state services.

            And the nightmare isn’t in restructuring because plenty of kickbacks are available for everyone involved at every level. So lots of people get rich. The poor have to go get their documents updated for a new address.


  11. Pingback: Monday Malayalam: Notebook, The Spoken Lesson is Different From the Shown Lesson | dontcallitbollywood

  12. Pingback: Film Reviews | dontcallitbollywood

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