These Actors Have Carried The Police Department In Hindi Films, It’s Time To Know Them

Bollywood has had an undeniable track record of stereotyping certain actors with certain roles. These are actors you might struggle to recall in any other role, except the one in which they gained fame. But today, we’re talking, very specifically, about policemen in Bollywood.

Yes, over the years, Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Salman Khan, and Ajay Devgn have played cops. But more often than not, the narrative of the film was centered around their characters. But what if a cop was not the epicentre of the plot? What happens then?

If this was the 70s, the answer was Iftekhar. This actor’s almost entire career was centred around playing policeman, often an honest, albeit ineffective one. You might remember him from Amitabh Bachchan’s Don (1978). But Iftekhar has played the cop in close to 22 films, which included Zanjeer and Ittefaq.


Another recognisable face from the 70s was Jagdish Raj, who played a policeman more than a hundred times! Yes, you read that right. He was usually a bit player, sometimes appearing in not more than one scene in a film, but was almost always a cop. Another recurring feature was that he mostly played the honest cop, in films like Silsila, Deewar and Shakti.


These men at least got our attention. But what about those, whom we never gave the attention they deserved? Meet ‘Mucchad’ aka Mushtaq Ahmed. This man is a specialist. He is only in films to drive the police jeep around. And he has done that for 40 years. 40 FREAKIN’ YEARS!


We’ll give you a moment to take it in.

Closer to the turn of the century, there have been actors who have repeatedly played the role of the cop. In the 90s, we had an actor by the name of Rana Jung Bahadur. A staple of Govinda-David Dhawan movies, he played the cop in several films- but mostly corrupt. You may remember him from Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, Deewangee, or the cult classic, Gunda- all films in which he played the cop.


Murali Sharma is another actor whom we have seen playing the cop in more films than one. Most recently in the Golmaal series, he has also played the cop in films like Dhamaal, Singham, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Sunday and 13 B. He is exceptional in cop roles!


You may have also seen D. Santosh play the cop- in movies like Khakee, Zameen, and Dhamaal. He is a renowned theatre actor, who clearly has a good comic timing, which has sadly not been exploited more by Bollywood directors.


We can also look at Kamlesh Sawant, who has done a variety of roles in Marathi cinema, but in Bollywood, has been stuck playing the role of a cop. right from Khakee, to Force, to Bhootnath Returns, to his much acclaimed turn in Drishyam.


So, why do these actors get stuck in playing only one kind of roles? It’s a combination of various factors- like the lack of variety in Bollywood roles, and the actors’ own excellence in playing these roles. They create a niche for themselves, which fortunately or unfortunately, is hard to escape. On the one hand, it ensures a steady stream of work in an otherwise cutthroat industry. On the other hand, it is creatively unsatisfying to be playing essentially the same role over and over again.

But whatever you might say about them, they have made Bollywood more enjoyable!

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Vishesh Jaiswal

I am a digital storyteller, more persuasive than needed. Also, I am Batman.

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