Everyone loves a good cop. From first-benchers whistling the roof down at the sight of Chulbul Pandey to young damsels in real-life distress. Patna found one with a double-barrelled name this year, and was loath to let him go. So when Shivdeep Waman Lande, Patna city superintendent of police, was transferred to the remote Araria district last month, protests erupted on streets, conspiracy theories buzzed in government offices, and even chief minister Nitish Kumar had to swat away pesky questions.
In the nine months he was in Patna, Shivdeep Lande was the perfect “light, camera, action cop”. The uniform was a tad too tight, the better to show off the beefy body, and the dark glasses always on — it didn’t take too long for newspapers and fans to make the Dabangg connection. He knew how to play the game, and would ensure that the cameras were trained on him whenever he stepped out for a big catch, whether it was against fake cosmetics or the medicine mafia.
The people loved him for the less important assignments, and there’s even a Facebook fan page on him. Women students of Magadh Mahila College and Patna Women’s College, who faced crank calls and harassment, called him up for help. Lande came up with an idea — he would ask the girls to divert their calls to his number. The young men who called found Lande on the phone, and quickly pressed “end-call”. The ones brave enough to call back would hear the SP again: “Beta, abhi bhi nahi sudhre ho, FIR karba du kya?” During festivals, he rounded up flashy bikes to stop rash young men from “fooling around” girls’ colleges. Girls on scooters, on the other hand, had a free run of pandals. The grateful young women would line up to get his autograph, and flood his inbox with SMSes. “I also tried to follow up my action by turning up at Magadh Mahila College to deal with such boys. I did reprimand some publicly and slapped some around. But I also ensured no case was lodged against them,” he says. Lande has the right back story for a Bollywood happy ending. He is the son of a farmer in Akola, Maharashtra, and has struggled his way to his current success.
He dismisses all suggestions that he was inspired by Salman Khan or Ajay Devgn. “I have been wearing goggles since I was on probation in Munger.” His glasses are lucky for him. “Twice, on anti-Naxal operations, I met with accidents but did not get hurt. On both occasions, I was wearing my glasses,” he said. The Araria SP has a suitable one-liner to sign off with: “I am neither Dabangg nor Singham, my parents have named me Shivdeep”.