Bad Cop Series Review: Anurag Kashyap revels as the baddie in this skeletal thriller

Bad Cop Series Review: Anurag Kashyap revels as the baddie in this skeletal thriller

Gulshan Devaiah is cop and conman in this filmy, flimsy tale
Bad Cop(2 / 5)

First Maharaja and now Bad Cop, Anurag Kashyap is having a moment with villainous roles. The auteur first registered in my head as an actor in 2011, when he played the schlemiel gangster Bunty Bhaiyya in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s philosophical crime-drama Shagird. The Tigmanshu film opens with Anurag getting arrested. He enters the jail compound as a sycophantic cop offers his subservience. In Aditya Datt’s pulpy, scrappy series Bad Cop, it seems like Bunty Bhaiyya never left the prison cell to meet his ultimate fate. He has rather become Kazbe, a happy-go-lucky mafioso who wields pistols atop escorts cuffed in his bed, gets bathed like an idol, and shakes his waist to the ‘Chinta Ta Ta Chita Chita' song from Rowdy Rathore. Anurag seems to be having a blast, parodying the kind of baddies he once penned. If only the viewers of this series could share his amusement.

Directed by: Aditya Datt

Cast: Anurag Kashyap, Gulshan Devaiah, Harleen Sethi, Saurabh Sachdeva

Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

Bad Cop is adapted from the German series of the same name, in which a criminologist takes over the identity of his deceased criminal twin brother. Rensil D’Silva’s adaptation gives this premise a filmy spin. Karan and Arjun (both played by Gulshan Devaiah) are twin brothers on opposite sides of the law. Karan is a cop, while Arjun is a conman (think Deewar for dummies). Karan feels emasculated because his wife Devika (Harleen Sethi) has been promoted over him. Arjun, on the other hand, lets his honey-trapping girlfriend take the lead on con operations. After being falsely implicated in a journalist’s murder, Arjun seeks Karan’s help. Their bharat milaap (brotherly meet-up) happens amidst a hail of bullets as they get entangled in a set-up. They make a run for it but get shot before falling into a lake. Only one of them gets a rebirth.

Arjun dons khakee (he learns to do it via YouTube) and becomes Karan. He lays low in the latter’s home, under his cop wife’s prying eyes, trying to hunt his brother’s killers. It’s an exciting device, used plainly and conveniently by the makers. Arjun’s hiccups in becoming Karan are lousily written. He wears the watch the wrong way, prefers sugared tea unlike his brother, and fumbles on the name of the restaurant he and Devika went to on their first date. The police work, however, he magically sails through.

The show stretches believability when a CBI (read CIB) officer and an incorruptible journalist become buddies. Saurabh Sachdeva plays the gruff officer chasing his best friend’s killer. He takes out the evidence board, the photos, and the pins to decode a string of events forced into being a mystery. The actor gives a heavy performance, ill-fitted for this kitschy series. He is, at times, so serious that it starts seeming satirical.

Bad Cop tries to present itself as a nail-biting thriller. The direction by Aditya Datt (Crakk- Jeetega...Toh Jiyegaa, Commando 3, Aashiq Banaya Aapne) is feverish and shaky, with a lot of close-ups to give an illusion of intensity. It ends up being speedy without substance. The chase sequences feel unnecessary, and the predictable twists and turns offer little surprise. The series casts Anurag and Gulshan in roles where they lock horns with each other. A repeat of last year’s Haddi, where Anurag gets chopped to death by long-time collaborator Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Anurag recently expressed in an interview that he loves his directors when they give him violent death scenes. He stated Quentin Tarantino’s explosive demise in Django Unchained as a favourite. In a scene in Bad Cop, Anurag’s Kazbe, raging over a missing consignment, makes a minion bench press with one hand. “I am a fair man,” he says. “I am so ‘fair’ I glow at night.” It's got to be the death of me.

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