Bollywood Action Films Have A Bonkers Extended Cop Universe
We've covered before how cinema can vary wildly from country to country, and India's Bollywood vs. America's Hollywood is no exception. For example, dance sequences are a frequent feature of Bollywood films, regardless of genre, and sometimes, even in an action flick, you'll be treated to three or four per movie.
It's just one of many cultural differences that you get used to after a few viewings, but there is one Bollywood trope that feels particularly surreal right now, and that is the "Cop Universe."
Let me explain. See, there are a ton of action movies in Bollywood where police officers are the protagonist, which shouldn't be all too unusual from an American perspective. I mean, Die Hard is practically a religion here. But what makes it unique is that the police officers in these Bollywood films are treated like superheroes. I don't mean in a Superman telling a reporter, after he just punched Darkseid into the sun, "police are the real heroes" sense. I mean they are literal superheroes with literal superpowers.
John McClane is pretty badass, but he never stopped three men from charging at him with one kick. Here's another one where our cop protagonist takes several glass bottles to the back of his neck without even flinching, before turning around, catching the bottle, and delivering an ass-whooping that would make Colossus shit a girder.
But while they might seem like superheroes to anyone watching the action, it's not clear if our cop protagonists are actually considered super-human in the realities of their own films. At times they are mild-mannered police officers getting slapped and demoted. At other times, within the same films, they are single-handedly taking down ISIS and literally splitting the earth with their own punches. Did these officers acquire their abilities through some sort of space radiation or specialized cop training or by virtue of their own sheer manliness? No one cares. It's a reality that vacillates somewhere between Lethal Weapon and The Avengers, but with this shared Universe coming to pass, it seems to be leaning more in the direction of The Avengers.
Obviously, police and their relationship to the public are a dicey issue right now for Americans. I'm not here to pass judgment on Indian politics or culture because I don't know shit about it other than what I've seen from a couple of movies. All I'm saying is, from an American perspective, especially in our current moment, wrapping my head around this concept feels impossible. Like, imagine how weird it would be if the Avengers worked for the NYPD? One day you're jaywalking, when Ant-Man hops off your shoulder and hands you a ticket. Or weirder, imagine if Die Hard and Rush Hour took place in the Lethal Weapon universe and then everyone had a team up and they could all punch through steel and ... actually that sounds pretty awesome. Make it happen Hollywood!
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Top Image: Rohit Shetty Picturez/Reliance Entertainment/Dharma Productions/Cape Of Good Films