The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops want role of hero, not villain or clown

Mumbai, Aug. 27: Bollywood’s cop stories are not going down too well with the real cops in the city.

Police officials have served a notice to the film fraternity, asking them to go slow on their relentless criticism of policemen. They don’t always come after the action is over, the officers fume.

Mumbai police commissioner M.N. Singh has shot off letters to the Indian Motion Pictures Producer’s Association, producers and directors, asking them to moderate their censure.

The police force is tired of being portrayed as “fools and imbeciles”, he says, adding that “in my letters I have asked them to look at Mumbai police with reality and seriousness, they can’t continue to portray the police in such a bad light”.

The top cop is especially miffed with films like Kaho Na Pyar Hai, in which comedian Johnny Lever, who plays a policeman, is shown urinating inside a police station. “Can something like that ever happen in real life' What is the message that is being put across,” Singh says. Moreover, Hindi films never show policemen carrying a baton or wearing the correct uniform, he complains.

The commissioner, however, has no problems with films like Sarfarosh and Mission Kashmir which showed policemen putting their lives at stake to save the nation.

In Sarfarosh, Aamir Khan plays a young IPS officer who fights a Pakistani double agent (Naseeruddin Shah), while in Mission Kashmir, Sanjay Dutt leads his band of loyal officers in a crusade against Kashmiri separatists.

“It is okay if the policemen are portrayed in subtly comic roles, but it is not fair to outrightly show them as ludicrous, bumbling and dishonest,” Singh says.

The Mumbai film industry has taken note of the police officials’ complaints. While a few producers are believed to have immediately written back to the police chief, “appreciating his concern”, others have agreed to “discuss” the issue at a meeting of the producers’ association next month.

“The letter will be referred to our executive committee for discussion next month and we will take a decision on the matter only after placing the issue before the 20 executive members,” a producer said.

Some association members, however, tried to defend the industry, saying: “It is not always like that and the Mumbai police force has never been targeted specifically.”

“The policemen just have to look at their track record before pointing a finger at us,” said a producer, rattling off Mumbai police’s recent bloomers in the Mohammad Afroze, Sanjay Dutt and the J.W. Singh cases.

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