Gangaajal: 15 Years Ago, a Film Warned Us About Lynchings and Mob Justice

Bollywood

Gangaajal: 15 Years Ago, a Film Warned Us About Lynchings and Mob Justice

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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idway through Prakash Jha’s Gangaajal, Amit Kumar (Ajay Devgn), the honest Superintendent of Tejpur Police, tells his wife that he is in a dilemma: Should he take a bet on Bachha Yadav (a fine Mukesh Tiwari), a temporarily suspended subordinate and include him in a sensitive operation? In the next few scenes, we find out that Kumar follows his gut and is rewarded for it. The operation, which involves cracking down on the district’s most notorious crime family, is successful and Yadav wins his confidence back.

But a little later in the film, Kumar is tested on this very decision when Yadav and his colleagues commit a horrific act of brutality. They blind two prisoners who they thought deserved a gruesome punishment. If it weren’t bad enough that this extrajudicial violence is meted out by the men Kumar trusted, public opinion is also in their favour. Naturally Kumar, horrified at this breach of power, is caught in a quagmire, for upholding his principles, means that he’d be required to throw his colleagues under the bus and go against the sentiment of the janata.

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