The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rising show to rouse the cops

On Sunday, a chunk of the city's police force geared up for its packed Independence Day schedule by retreating into the cool confines of an auditorium.

Not for a spot of yoga or to pick up new breathing techniques. But to catch the film that seems to have captured the nation's imagination ' Mangal Pandey: The Rising.

While senior officers refused to spell out whether the exercise was aimed at inspiring the policemen, many walked out of the show charged.

'The screening was not aimed at bringing about an intrinsic change. But then, such films always have an impact and if a section of the force feels inspired, it is a bonus,' commented Zulfikar Hassan, joint commissioner (armed police).

The choice of the venue was quite significant. For, the barracks of the Bodyguard Lines, at Alipore, are home to a few hundred greenhorns of the force.

The primary mode of entertainment for most of these young men is the big and the small screen. But mostly, they have to make do with a game of carrom or by chatting up colleagues.

Keeping in mind the ground realities, top officers of Calcutta Police had chosen two films to help the cops relax and, at the same time, instil in them a sense of pride.

While Mangal Pandey was the Sunday special, Saturday saw the screening of another Aamir Khan-starrer, Sarfarosh. The mandarins evidently wanted to cash in on the star's portrayal of a valiant IPS officer hot on the heels of a Pakistani terrorist played by Naseeruddin Shah.

'Such film shows come as a welcome break. It's not only about the films; the whole idea of enjoying something with your mates and superior officers is wonderful. You feel like you are part of a unit,' said a constable of the Sixth Battalion, who had a blast over the weekend.

The enjoyment was not limited to the junior officers.

A section of the seniors, too, had a great time, albeit for a different reason. After months, the weekend engagement presented an opportunity to spend quality time with family members without stepping out of the Bodyguard Lines.

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