Indian Police Force Review: No brawn, brain and bravura, Rohit Shetty and Sidharth Malhotra's thriller lacks energy

Web Series: Indian Police Force

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Nikitin Dheer, Sharad Kelkar, Shweta Tiwari, Isha Talwar, Vaidehi Parshurami, Mrinal Kulkarni

Director: Rohit Shetty and Sushwanth Prakash

OTT: Amazon Prime Video

Rating: 2 Moons

Rohit Shetty is one of the few filmmakers in Indian cinema who managed to represent the police force in the best way possible on celluloid. After over 20 years in the film industry, he has ventured into the digital space with yet another cop drama, Indian Police Force. The seven-episode show premiered today on Amazon Prime Video. 

Indian Police Force orbits around Kabir Malik (Sidharth Malhotra), an officer working for the Delhi Police. He is under the guidance of Vikram Bakshi (Vivek Oberoi) and they share family-like relations. The first episode begins with a series of bomb blasts in various corners of Delhi and the cops come into action to stop the terrorist. While tracking down the culprit, Tara Shetty (Shilpa Shetty) is roped in to help the Delhi Police. Indian Police Force is about the mission to hunt down Zarar (Mayank Tandon).

It is a typical Rohit Shetty thriller drama with elements that have been utilised in the past as well. The filmmaker introduces his characters with ear-swelling, loud, siren-like music. He gives each one of them their private heroic moments but does this work? Definitely not. Rohit, known as the master of action, paints a larger canvas on OTT with Indian Police Force but vibrant colours and a variety of textures are missing.

Rohit has been entertaining the audience with his cop action films which have high-octane stunts backed by a strong emotional core. With Indian Police Force, the level of action choreography hits the lowest as chase and fight sequences don’t look natural and smooth-flowing. The story of the series seems slate and a rehash of thrillers made in the past. The creators certainly focus on exploring more of the cat-and-mouse chase between the protagonists and antagonist Zarar, but where’s the tension and intensity?

The opening sequence explains the concept of the show and highlights a destructive bomb blast. Since it is a Rohit Shetty creation, you will find cars as well as people flying in the air; this time due to the blasts. More than anything, clumsiness in the scene’s execution is visible prominently. The visual effects of fire are poorly done considering the scale of the series. 

Indian Police Force has its heart in the right place and the intention is undoubtedly good but the lack of energy on-screen waters down the purpose. Wide-angle shots and long camera angles with drones panning the entire scenic location can work wonders. However, anything in excess can throw you out of the picture pretty fast. That's what happens here. Every episode has at least a couple of long shots that randomly focus on the surroundings. 

What works in favour of Indian Police Force is the final episode. It unfolds several possibilities of having multiple seasons with a stronger purpose. When cars fly, the series also soars. The songs within the show are shot beautifully. The depiction of a cop wife is brilliant. Another plus point is Rohit and his team of writers make characters humane. While the terrorist has his agenda, his wife is an antidote to his mindset. We wish this was explored in a better and detailed manner. 

The duration of each episode is around 30-40 minutes on average, hence the flashback portions, emotional turmoil, conflicts, friendships, family relations, interpersonal relationships and loss are abruptly shown. There's limited breathing space for these subplots.

Sidharth Malhotra makes his series debut with Indian Police Force. While he is a handsome cop, the actor lacks the energy to pull off intense action sequences. In a scene on a yacht, Kabir Malik is bashing a bunch of baddies but the punches are clumsy. His expressions, punches and what unfolds on the screen don’t match. Though Sidharth does well in the brief emotional and romantic scenes. Tara Shetty refers to Kabir Malik as a ‘sarfira’ (crazy) cop but the level of craziness and power is below average.

Vivek Oberoi does a fantastic job but he is sadly underutilised. His screen presence is calming and wish there was more to him and his cop, Vikram Bakshi. Shilpa Shetty is the first female cop in Rohit’s universe. A lot was expected from her but she fails to deliver a memorable performance. Shilpa looks stunning; is that enough? We’ll leave that up to you. Her action sequences are bold but not brave enough. The surprise package is Mayank Tandon who plays Zarar. He is good and takes up a decent amount of screen space. Sharad Kelkar comes in late but his entry is worth sailing through 7 episodes. He is the true star of the show and we cannot wait to see his character develop in the next part.

The scale of Indian Police Force sets it apart from the other shows of its league. The sound design, though loud and familiar, works decently for the series. The cinematography is brilliant as it captures bylanes and exotic locations beautifully.

Indian Police Force attempts to be brave, bold and high on style and energy. However, it lacks the basic elements of entertainment and action by sticking to the routine story of good vs evil. With less or no newness, the show fails to connect and have an edge-of-the-seat experience.