Director Govind Nihalani pre occupied with making definite cop films. In all three cop films- Ardh Satya in 80’s, Drohkaal in 90’s and Dev in 2000, Nihalani extends the progression of cop under the periphery of unmitigated forces and power. Both are inscrutable for him. Director Prakash Jha is the only other director who brings similar realistic cop film ‘Gangaajal’ this decade. May be its Nihalani’s intrinsic desire to contemporarise the role of Indian cop with changing and unlikely face value of the society. This time he portrays it in the backdrop of communal riots in Gujarat. He also presented another side of today’s media driven world. What accidentally happens in out of control situation by Police is presented with distorting the facts by the media. The sentiments of mass public always toss between the mixed truth presented by the dirty politics and reporting media.
It is through mutual conversation and sharing their drinks Nihalani brings fine etched out two opposite faces of Indian cop with two legendary actors together for the first time. Both officers devoted to their profession and spirit but it is their attitude and execution of law which separates them from each other. If Amitabh is law enforcer and strict follower of secular constitutional law and man of principles, Om is more extremist who believes that constitution exists because country exists and he don’t mind going any far to protect country even if he has to break the constitutional laws to shoot the traitors.
As an authoritarian extremist CM Amrish Puri reflects the role playing of Gujarat CM at the time of riots who kept the remote control of Police in his hand and push the fired sentiments of single religion. It’s shameless to see that cops present at the scene of riots not took any action to take situation under control. Later CM office and Home Department gave it the face of collateral damage. What is so disturbing is that even aftermath of riots state government labeling victimized civilians as majority and minority not innocent human beings who had nothing to do with dirty communal politics. Nihalani shows the hidden reality and that’s the reason when it released it got strong protest in Gujarat.
Nihalani repeated so many scenes of his ‘Drohkaal’here. The attitudinal differences of two cop friends -Amitabh and Om Puri is extension of ‘Drohkaal’s Nasser and Om Puri. Besides Om Puri; Amrish Puri is another common actor acted in all his three cop films and almost remained inseparable part of his films. The interrogation conversation between Amitabh- Fardeen also reminds us fine enacted scene between Om Puri-Aashish Vidyarthi. Instead of using his clichéd image of angry young man, Amitabh is presented as cop struggling with his own conscience. Kareena first time played deglamorised but strong role of an independent woman who shows courage to question the Police and Ministers who open handedly supported to spread the riots. The only eyesore act belongs to Fardeen Khan. Its in the second half of the film, screenplay becomes weak, repetitive and losing integrity why the film failed to garner critical or mass appreciation.