The fun part of Policegiri is that no one, not even director K Ravi Kumar, seems to take the proceedings seriously
Film: Policegiri; Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Prakash Raj, Prachi Desai; Director: K Ravi Kumar
Indian cinema is like a massive bouquet of wildflowers of different colours and smells. You really can't judge Policegiri, Sanjay Dutt's hefty homage to hero-giri completed before serving the remainder of his prison term, against the soft gently-undulating movements of the week's other release Lootera. If Vikramaditya Motwane's film is soft-petalled rose, Policegiri is a wild cactus flower from the desert. Why cactus? The landscape is populated with pricks, you see.
It's a roaring 21-gun salute to traditional mainstream cinema's ongoing obsession with the corruption-cleansing cop who goes on a rampage. The anti-establishment figure from Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer has been slyly transformed into the khaki-wearing law-enforcer with shades of grey.
Like Ajay Devgn in Singham, Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore and Salman Khan in Dabangg, Sanjay in Policegiri is a morally ambivalent do-gooder who bends rules to restore order in an inherently anarchic lawless town somewhere on the Andhra Pradesh border (hence the thick accents of junior artistes who seem to have seen better 'daze') run by a powerful goon-politician.
That the buffoon of a goon is played repeatedly by Prakash Raj is a boon. This talented actor from Priyadrshan's unforgettable Kanchivaram plays the same rowdy idiosyncratic neta in almost every Hindi remake of a South Indian cop-on-a-cocky-trail remake. And he revitalises the character each time. In Policegiri, Prakash is a howl as a music-loving ganglord. In various self-consciously staged confrontation scenes with Sanjay, Prakash is seen playing different musical instruments, from the piano to the tabla, quite badly we may add. "I don't claim to be Mohammad Rafi in singing, but I am Mohammed Ali in my brute power," brags his villainous character Nagori Subramnayam in scene after scene.
Well, good for him. Be warned the heroic adversary is formidable. Like Salman in Dabangg, Sanjay's cop character is quirkily immoral. We are not supposed to judge this bovine cop adversely just because he collects money wrapped in a newspaper from the goon.
Flitting in and out of this tale of the goon-like coop and the gana-gata-goon is a romantic association between Sanjay and Prachi Desai. Age difference be damned, they even have a discreetly-done suhaag-raat (honeymoon) scene where Prachi is allowed to make fun of Sanjay's dhalti umar (advancing age).
Ask Sanjay if he cares. He seems to sink into the fun quotient of the barbed jugalbandi with Prakash without bothering with histrionic one-upmanship.
The fun part of Policegiri is that no one, not even director K Ravi Kumar, seems to take the proceedings seriously. Even when gruesome killings happen, they are done in the spirit of a comic-book caper where the hero has forgotten his cape home and he certainly doesn't wear his underwear on top of his khaki pants.
Sanjay seems to revel in the absurdity of a crime drama where the law-maker seems to share an affinity to moral ambiguity with the law-breakers. It is all fun to watch - loud, rumbustious, over the top, ear-splitting fun provided you are a Singham-Dabangg aficionado, and a Sanjay Dutt fan. And provided you don't judge the film by the same yardstick as Lootera.
IANS movie rating: 3 stars
3 out of 5
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