Policemen have made for some of the most memorable protagonists of Indian cinema. With the latest, Aamir Khan's highly anticipated turn in Talaash, due in UAE cinemas this week, we take a look at some of the best Bollywood cop films.
Zanjeer (Shackles), directed by Prakash Mehra (1973)
The honest police officer Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) spends six months in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Upon his release, he seeks vengeance on the real culprit, the gang leader Teja (Ajit). This super-hit was the fourth highest-grossing film of 1973 and changed the trend of a whole industry, steering it away from an era of romance to one of action, and was the first to cast Amitabh Bachchan in the role of the "angry young man" - which went on to become his trademark.
Deewaar (The Wall), directed by Yash Chopra (1975)
A grand follow-up to Bachchan's arrival in Zanjeer, Deewar explores what happens when two brothers find themselves on opposing sides of the law. Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor play the brothers Vijay Verma (a smuggler) and Ravi Verma (an honest police officer). The film received seven Filmfare awards, including Best Movie, and established the screenwriting duo Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar as two of the most memorable writers in Indian cinema. They were often paid as much as the actors and are credited with boosting the pay of screenwriters in the industry overall.
Ardh Satya (Half Truth), directed by Govind Nihalani (1983)
Exploring the dark side of the police force, this film follows the trials and tribulations of the sub-inspector Anant Velankar (Om Puri), a frustrated officer who takes his anger out on suspects and inmates. The film won numerous awards and is considered to be one of Bollywood's most iconic films about the police force.
Shool (The Spear), directed by E Nivas (1999)
This National Award-winning film depicts political crime and corruption in the Indian state of Bihar. The story revolves around the inspector Samar Pratap Singh (Manoj Bajpai ), an honest cop who struggles to fight the corrupt system he is a part of.
Sarfarosh (Martyr), directed by John Matthew Matthan (1999)
Released at the high point of the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan, this film features the Indian police officer Ajay (Aamir Khan) who is on a mission to curb cross-border terrorism. Backed by seven years of research, pre-production and production, the film received high critical acclaim but fared just average at the box office.
Mission Kashmir, directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra (2000)
With a screenplay by the Pulitzer Prize finalist Suketu Mehta and becoming the third highest-grossing film in the year of its release, Mission Kashmir deals with the effect of the India-Pakistan conflict on children as they grow up. As a young boy, the family of Altaaf (Hrithik Roshan) was killed in the crossfire during a police raid on terrorists. Unbeknown to him, he has grown up as the foster child of one of the police officers (Sanjay Dutt) involved in the raid. The day Altaaf discovers the truth, he sets out to seek revenge against his adoptive father by becoming a terrorist.
Dhoom (Explosion), directed by Sanjay Gadhvi (2004)
Dhoom was the first action film made by Yash Raj Films since Vijay in 1988, and became one of the top-grossing Indian films of 2004. Its success spurred the production house to make Dhoom 2, which was released in 2006 and Dhoom 3 is scheduled to be released next year. Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra feature as the assistant commissioner of police Jai Dixit and the sub-inspector Ali Akbar Fateh Khan in the series. In the first part, they hunt down a gang of bikers looting shops around Mumbai. The gang is headed by Kabir (John Abraham). Hrithik Roshan heads the bad guys in Dhoom 2, while Aamir Khan is rumoured to be doing the same in Dhoom 3.
Ab Tak Chhappan (Fifty Six So Far), directed by Shimit Amin (2004)
Inspired by the real-life Mumbai police inspector Pradeep Sharma, this film features the Mumbai Encounter Squad's inspector Sadhu Agashe (Nana Patekar) who is notorious for having killed 56 people in police encounters - hence the film's title.
Khakee (The Uniform), directed by Rajkumar Santoshi (2004)
This film features an ensemble cast of make-believe cops: Amitabh Bachchan as the deputy commissioner of police Anant Kumar Shrivastav, Akshay Kumar as the senior inspector Shekhar Verma, Tusshar Kapoor as the sub-inspector Ashwin Gupte and Ajay Devgn as the former police officer Yashwant Angre. The plot revolves around corruption in the Indian police force.
Sehar (Dawn), directed by Kabeer Kaushik (2005)
Set in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and based on real-life incidents and individuals from the late 1990s, this film depicts the struggle of the state police to fight organised crime through the eyes of the newly appointed superintendent of state police of Lucknow Ajay Kumar (Arshad Warsi).
Shootout at Lokhandwala, directed by Apoorva Lakhia (2007)
Based on the real-life 1991 gun battle between gangsters and Mumbai police at Mumbai's Lokhandwala Complex, the film stars Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty and Arbaaz Khan as the good guys: the additional commissioner of police Shamsher Khan (a take on one of the officers who was present at the actual incident), the inspector Kaviraj Patil and the inspector Javed Shaikh respectively. Vivek Oberoi and Tusshar Kapoor depict real-life bad guys: the underworld gangster Mahindra "Maya" Dolas and his sidekick Dilip Buwa.
A Wednesday!, directed by Neeraj Pandey (2008)
At 2pm on Wednesday a man calls up Mumbai's commissioner of police Prakash Rathod (Anupam Kher) and tells him about five different bombs he has placed across the city, and which he will detonate unless four terrorists currently in police custody are released. Naseeruddin Shah plays the anonymous caller. Despite very little pre-release publicity, this box-office sleeper hit raked in more than Dh22.7 million, purely on critical acclaim and word-of-mouth. It also won several awards including the Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director at the 56th National Film Awards.
Dabangg (Fearless), directed by Abhinav Singh Kashyap (2010)
The box-office blockbuster Dabangg is set in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and stars Salman Khan as the inspector Chulbul Pandey who tackles bad guys while avenging the death of his mother. Shot partly in the UAE, the film had a production budget of Dh19.8m and marketing budget of Dh7.7m and broke box office records with its overall earnings of Dh144m, including Dh53.3m in its first week, which is a Bollywood record. It is the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2010 and, as of 2012, the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time. The film went on to win several awards and has been remade in Tamil and Telugu.
Dum Maaro Dum (Take a Shot), directed by Rohan Sippy (2011)
Abhishek Bachchan plays ACP Vishnu Kamath, a formerly corrupt police officer who mends his ways and is tasked with apprehending drug dealers.
Singham (Lion), directed by Rohit Shetty (2011)
A fearless inspector Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) stands up to a powerful gangster who develops a personal vendetta against him. A remake of a 2010 Tamil film called Suriya, this movie became one of the highest grossing movies of 2011 and with box-office takings of 100 crore (Dh66.9m) it became a member of Bollywood's elite "100 crore club".
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