- Release Date: 23/04/2021
- Platform: Sony Liv
- Cast: Amit Sial, Aksha Pardasany, Anshumaan Pushkar, Gopal Datt
- Director: Sachin Pathak
- Writer: Siddharth Mishra
There are some filmmakers whose hearts are filled with so much malice that they desperately try their best to blur the thin line between hateful propaganda and creative liberties. They create their films and series in such a way that it becomes hard to tell if they were inspired to tell a story or just wanted to malign the defense forces of the country and used the film as a pretext and medium. One such deplorable effort is Kathmandu Connection by director Sachin Pathak and writer Siddharth Mehta. I have to give it to them that they camouflaged their product very well. Any raised fingers about the series and its story can be justified by the pretense of creative liberties and telling a specific story. The makers would most definitely add that their series in no way generalizes its character s and finds identification with the defense forces of the country. But when you watch this series it serves you the same venom that has been peddled by Bollywood for years in a subtler and more potent way. This has a higher risk of penetrating your soul and making you despise the men and women who fight and die for you.
The protagonist of the story is DCP Samarth Kaushik (Amit Sial), a despicable, self-centered, conniving, and murderous police officer who starts by killing atleast one innocent Muslim and then goes on to brandish him as a terrorist of the dreaded Hizbul Mujaheddin. He then uses this killing as a ladder to quickly climb to the top of the departmental hierarchy. He is an equally deplorable character on the family front and is being divorced by his wife. She cannot stand their daughter being in his company and the makers take special care to ensure that her hatred finds its way to us and we are made aware of the fact that he must have done something terrible to deserve so much hate from his wife.
He doesn’t lose a single opportunity to take undue advantage of others. The ones at the receiving end of his selfishness are generally his colleagues. When all other options to arrest and bring back a dreaded terrorist fails, he manipulates and uses a TV Anchor, Shivani (Aksha Pardasany) who is head-over-heels in love with him to function as a bait to bring the terrorist down. He does so with clinical ease and it is this action that makes him an even more deplorable character. Finally, when he falls prey to his own vanity and his tarnished past catches up with him, he shows no signs of remorse or repentance. On the contrary, he is sure that he will make it out of the soup and will then bring down the wrath of the system on the ones who had wronged him. To cut a long story short, the series draws the worst possible picture of a police officer and tries to justify the bad guys who are shown to be forced into doing certain things because of circumstances.
In stark contrast to the character of Samarth Kaushik, the antagonist Sunny (Anshumaan Pushkar) is painted with unbelievable softness and the moral upper hand. He is in love with the Shivani and was forced into a life of crime when he accidentally killed a fellow student who was bad-mouthing Shivani and then pulled a knife on him. He is soft-spoken and prides himself on being an Indian. He can do no wrong to the country and willfully surrenders to grant the wish of the woman that he loves. Samarth feels even more morally bankrupt and hateable in presence of this criminal with a heart of gold.
The character of Shivani was in love with the innocent and pristine Muslim fellow whom Samarth gunned down. She was brought up at the same orphanage that the guy’s mother ran and was slated to marry him before he was shot and brandished as a terrorist by Samarth. She joined the media and walked into Samarth’s attention with the sole purpose of bringing him down. We are shown how she gradually inches closer to her target and how the arrival of Sunny in the picture only makes the matter easier for her. All of this is stemmed from the first encounter that we see Samarth execute. The series documents the effects of it on the lives of the innocent who were left behind after the death of the boy. All this is done with the malicious intent of inciting hatred for a man who is seen to be the torchbearer of the police force.
The encounter that sets this entire game into motion is designed on the Batla House encounters and is yet another dastardly attempt to prove that the terrorists gunned down in that encounter were in fact innocent. Of course, this is only a fictional account of the incident, and all the names and elements are changed but it is executed in a way that brings back memories of the actual incident. The way, in which it is executed, the film tries to slowly poison us with its rendition of the events by infusing in us a hatred for the law machinery by making Samarth such a hateable character and depicting him as the face of law and his action garnering his promotions.
What makes Kathmandu Connection even more dangerous is how well it is acted and how close the portrayal of the character is to how the actual police force is seen moving around. This makes the people draw a line between this and the real deal and makes the impact of what is shown here even more profound. I always keep my review of films and series objective but in this case, I couldn’t let this blatant effort at making demons out of the defense personnel pass through without even a question being raised at the intention of the men and women who made this series.
One must never forget that the only line of defense that we have against a diverse assemblage of enemies of the country are our defense forces. By painting a horrifying picture of them drawing by inspiration from real incidents that happened quite the other way around, we are only making the work of our enemies easier. These filmmakers are not only chopping away at the roots of the foundation of this country but are also poisoning the hearts and minds of the innocent people of this country with their malice. They should be held accountable for the hate that they are mongering and should be asked questions about what is making them do all this. Creative freedom should not always be against the sovereignty. It can also highlight the achievements and supreme sacrifices of the men and women of the armed forces. Unfortunately, that is not what Kathmandu Connection is all about.