Khakee (English: The Brown Uniform) is a 2004 neo-noir drama thriller film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and written by Santoshi and Shridhar Raghavan. The film tells the story of an Indian police team set out on a dangerous mission to transfer an accused Pakistani spy from a remote town in Maharashtra to Mumbai.
The film stars an ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Atul Kulkarni, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai, Tusshar Kapoor, Tanuja and Jaya Pradha. Lara Dutta appears in an item number during the song "Aisa Jadoo." The film released on January 23, 2004 to widespread critical acclaim and went on to became one of the highest-grossing films of the year. It is regarded as one of Santoshi's best films till date.
The entire film is presented as a flashback by Sub-Inspector Ashwin Gupte (Tusshar Kapoor).
The Maharashtra police seizes large quantity of arms from the house of Dr. Iqbal Ansari (Atul Kulkarni), a physician from the riot-torn region of Chandangarh. The officials conclude that he is an agent of Pakistan intelligence agency collaborating with terrorists. Ansari is arrested as per Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 and will be presented before a special court in Mumbai. But, the convoy of police vehicles bringing Ansari from Chandangarh is ambushed by an unknown group. The police somehow manages to save the accused's life, but suffer heavy casualties. The group, led by Yashwant Angre (Ajay Devgan), a ruthless killer and former police officer, seems determined to free Dr. Iqbal Ansari from the government custody.
Minister Deodhar (Sabyasachi Chakrabarty), a high-ranking politician in Maharashtra who represents Chandangarh, accuses Pakistan of "proxy-war" against India through the communal riots and the ambush on police forces. The police chief decides to send a team of five police officers to bring the accused to Mumbai so that he may appear in court for the hearing. The leader of the team, Deputy Commissioner of Police Anant Shrivastav (Amitabh Bachchan), is a policeman on the verge of retiring from his failing career, possibly because he never succumbed to corruption and other personal interests. He accepts the mission, thinking that he will finally be recognized and finish his career by being promoted to Additional Commissioner of Police. DCP Shrivastav's team consists of Senior Inspector Shekhar Verma (Akshay Kumar), a corrupt, morally bankrupt cop, rookie Sub-Inspector Ashwin Gupte (Tusshar Kapoor) and two constables, Kamlesh Sawant and Gajanan Mhatre. A woman named Mahalakshmi (Aishwarya Rai) joins them for her protection, as she is the only witness to have seen Yashwant Angre.
The team is armed with traditional Indian police weapons and ready to go, but danger lurks everywhere as the gang is determined to make sure the police team and Iqbal Ansari does not make it to Mumbai. The mission turns into a battle for survival when the team is attacked at various points during the journey through arid landscapes and tiny villages of rural Maharashtra. When the team reaches an abandoned cottage in a forest en route, there is another shoot-out with gang members and the team finds itself heavily outnumbered. Against DCP Anant Shrivastav and Inspector Ashwin Gupte's judgment, Senior Inspector Shekhar Verma tries to force an exchange of Dr. Iqbal Ansari in return for their lives. At this point, Dr. Ansari breaks down and reveals that the gang is not planning on freeing him, but instead on killing him after their use. He goes on to reveal that he knows the whereabouts of a certain file which will reveal the true face of Minister Deodhar. The file with Dr. Iqbal Ansari's testimony could bring the politician to court who built his career on inciting Hindu-Muslim religious antagonisms. So, it is Minister Deodhar who is using the gang under Yashwant Angre to obtain the file. Dr. Ansari was framed as an "Islamic terrorist" when he threatened to expose the file. At this point, Senior Inspector Shekhar Verma's intentions change dramatically and he plans an escape from the cottage. The plan is successful and they manage to get out and get Ansari, who is fatally injured in the encounter with the gang, to a nearby hospital in the fictitious city of Nairoli. DCP Shrivastav figures out that AdCP Naidu (Prakash Raj), who is DCP Anant Shrivastav's senior, was the mole leaking the information about their whereabouts to the gang.
At this point, Minister Deodhar, the politician using the organization lead by Yashwant Angre, and ACP Naidu come up with a plan to turn citizens against the police team by declaring in a press conference that the police team has gone "rogue" and is now protecting Dr. Iqbal Ansari on the directions of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. Seeing the news on television, several locals gather at the hospital and threaten to barge inside. DCP Anant Shrivastav confronts them and urges them to have faith in his team, and not go by what they hear in media.
The police team then commissions a train to take them from Nairoli Railway Station to Mumbai. However, once again the gang arrives at the station and there is another shoot-out. The cops manage to get Ansari on board the train, but Constable Kamlesh Sawant dies trying to divert the attention of the gunmen. After reaching Mumbai, Dr. Iqbal Ansari is again taken to a hospital, where he is declared dead. This is a severe jolt to the efforts and reputation of DCP Shrivastav's team.
However, the team manage to unearth another piece of evidence against Minister Deodhar and AdCP Naidu; the old file containing incriminating details against them, hidden away by a now-killed journalist in a locker in Mumbai's General Post Office. Senior Inspector Shekhar Verma and Mahalakshmi (who is now his girlfriend) manage to find the file, but Yashwant Angre confronts them as they attempt to leave. Shekhar Verma gives the file to Mahalakshmi and asks her to take it to DCP Anant Shrivastav, and engages Yashwant Angre and his men to allow her to escape. At this point, it is revealed that Mahalakshmi is actually an agent of Yashwant Angre, her mission being to leak the whereabouts of the file to the police team and collect information on their plans to retrieve it. Mahalakshmi kills Shekhar Verma, who believed she was in love with him-- but not before exposing Mahalakshmi's reality to DCP Shrivastav, unbeknownst to her and Yashwant Angre. DCP Shrivastav and his team hunt down Angre by following Mahalakshmi, and capture him after a fight. Mahalakshmi is killed during the encounter, when Angre uses her as a protective shield against the gunfire. The police are also able to retrieve the file indicting Deodhar.
Armed with compelling evidence from the file, the court is able to convict Yashwant Angre, Minister Deodhar, and ACP Naidu. On the way to prison in a police van, Angre sees that the bolts holding his handcuffs are actually loose. Breaking free, he grabs a rifle and attacks the constables in the van. Sub-Inspector Ashwin jumps out of the van to find Angre holding a constable hostage. Angre goes to shoot Ashwin and the constable, but only then he notices that the gun has no bullets and surrenders to the cops. Ashwin then takes out his pistol and shoots Angre twice, and shows him the screws of the bolts, indicating that they were purposely removed. He then shoots Angre with his gun. The film ends with Sub-Inspector Ashwin ringing the department and informing them that a convict was killed in an encounter while trying to fire at the policemen in an attempt to escape from custody.
Amitabh Bachchan as DCP Anant Kumar Shrivastav,
Ajay Devgan as Yashwant Angre,
Akshay Kumar as Senior Inspector Shekhar Verma,
Aishwarya Rai as Mahalakshmi,
Tusshar Kapoor as Sub-Inspector Ashwin Gupte,
Atul Kulkarni Dr. Iqbal Ansari,
Kamlesh Sawant as Constable Kamlesh Sawant,
D Santosh as Constable Gajanan Mahatre,
Sabyasachi Chakravarthy as Minister Deodhar,
Prakash Raj as Additional Commissioner of Police Naidu,
Tanuja as Dr. Iqbal Ansari's mother,
Jaya Prada as Jaya Srivastav,
Lara Dutta as herself (cameo appearance in the song 'Aisa Jadoo'),
Vivek Vaswani as smuggler,
Ashwini Kalsekar as Kamlesh's wife,
Abir Goswami as Photographer,
Yusuf Hussain as Police Commissioner,
The film was shot in various parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Nashik. The fictional city of "Nairoli" shown in the film is actually the city of Apta near Panvel. The railway station of Apta was rechristened as Nairoli for the scene featuring the shoot-out at the station.
Ram Sampath composed the music for the film, with lyrics by Sameer.
Khakee met with very positive reviews and outstanding performances from all the lead actors. The Hindu mentioned "It's the director's show all the way. 'Khakee' is great evidence of what smart writing can do to a film - the duo of Rajkumar Santoshi and Shridhar Raghavan, deserve all the credit for packing the punches the film delivers. A little pace is lost in the second half because of the dialogues, song and dance, but thanks to high production values and charismatic star appeal, you really don't feel the length - 2 hours and 54 minutes. An aging Amitabh Bachchan is first rate with his trademark delivery. Akshay Kumar provides the comic relief with his `I'm cool' flirtatious attempts to woo Aishwarya and Tusshar plays the foil to his seniors - a neat essay". Sukanya Verma from Rediff said "What I also like about Khakee is that every actor, big or small (in terms of footage), good or bad (in terms of character) has that one defining moment on screen. Khakee is a smart film. It makes you think. It keeps you at the edge of your seat. It gives you your money's worth. What more do you want.
Bollywood Hungama gave a four stars explains " One wouldn't call KHAKEE the best script Santoshi has tackled, but it certainly would rank amongst the best. Another aspect that enhances the film is the dialogues (Rajkumar Santoshi), which will be met with a thunderous applause at various junctures of the film. Santoshi has a knack for extracting wonderful performances from the cast. Amitabh Bachchan delivers one of the best performances of his career. He has some of the toughest scenes in the film. In fact, a lesser actor would've failed to do justice to the role. But Bachchan's expressions, voice and movement bring the character to life. Akshay Kumar is fantastic. Ajay Devgan adds yet another feather in his cap with a performance that could've been essayed only by a master performer. Aishwarya Rai gets a role to prove her talent and she more than lives up to the expectations. Tusshar may not have many lines to deliver, but his presence and expressions register a strong impact".
Derek Elley from Variety magazine stated "The testosterone's so high you can almost put a match to it in "Khakee," a twist-filled, often very violent drama centered on some cops escorting a terrorist cross-country to Mumbai. Powerhouse casting, and equally powerhouse direction by Rajkumar Santoshi, makes this an above-average example of mainstream Bollywood thrillers, sans any stylistic flourishes. Given its paucity of musical numbers and romance, this one could have a career on ancillary among general action buffs".
The film was nominated for four Filmfare Awards, including Best Director for Santoshi, Best Actor for Bachchan, Best Supporting Actor for Kumar, and Best Villain for Devgn.
The music is composed by Ram Sampath. Lyrics are penned by Sameer. Rajkumar Santoshi wanted A. R. Rahman to compose the music for the film; but the latter did not sign the project due to other commitments. Hence Sampath was selected after an audition.
Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
Richa Sharma, Kailash Kher
Sonu Nigam, Sukhwinder Singh, Kunal Ganjawala
"Wada Raha - I"
Arnab Chakrabarty, Shreya Ghoshal
"Wada Raha - II"
Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghoshal
"Wada Raha - Sad"
"Teri Baahon Mein Hum"
Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
"Aisa Jadoo - Remix"
"Dil Dooba - Remix"
Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
The film was later remade in Telugu as Satyameva Jeyathe.