Though he has doned different roles, to me Saurab Shukla will always remain Gopi from Tehkikaat. That funny assistant who looks up to his detective friend, Sam (Vijay Anand). In this film in the role of the villain, Thauji, the landlord who is raided, he has the maximum scope of emotions.
Turns out, I don’t remember the last film I stepped into a theatre to watch Ajay Devgan act. It could be as long as more than 10 years with Bhagat Singh or his home production, Raju Chacha. Was he a part of that political drama based on the Mahabharata starring Ranbhir Kapoor & Katrina Kaif with a mother who couldn’t act – Rajneeti. Even that film seems to be a long time ago. You get the point don’t you?
Here, he plays this ‘ultra’ honest ‘patriotic’ officer (you should here his lines about nationalism and mother India) who is also shown to be madly deeply in love with his (newly wedded) wife (Ileana D’Cruz). If their romance was the so called comic relief in this terse drama — it turns out to be more of an irritation, incumbrance & subversion to the plot!
Picture this, Devgan as Amay Patnaik, 10-15 of his department colleagues, with a blue bus full of police troops (think guns, helmets, troops running out to make a boundary line) is at the house of this (most) powerful man, Thauji (Shukla), searching his haveli (mansion like house) for the black money and the records he has kept hidden. Apparently, this is a secret operation so that nobody in high places can tip off this influential man, also a politician, also a member of the parliament to hide his illegal assets elsewhere!
The ‘beautiful’ dainty wife walks in with a tiffin box at lunch time for her IRS officer husband saying, you’d be tired, or the wife knows everything!!!! Comic relief, absolutely. Initially I was horrified, the emotion turned to irritation and finally sarcasm! 😉
The film would have retained its seriousness without this couple angle! Nevertheless, the wives and the kids (when they are present) is the pawn to coerce the honest officers into succumbing to the corrupt villain!
The plot is based on true events about the longest recorded raid in the history of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) – roughly 2 days in 1981. The ending is inspired from a couple of incidents from real life, the aftermath of raids in these towns.
I agree that more films should be made on the stories of these honest officers who dared to enter the lion’s den to thwart corruption under unfavourable circumstances of liaison between the rich, the police, judiciary and the politicians. However, it can be done with a seriousness it requires to get the message across, not resort to unwanted drama like the romance and presence of Dcruz in this film.