It is because of the valour and hard work of the Mumbai police that the 1.4 crore people in the city can sleep in peace. Mumbai photographer Pravin Talan beautifully captures the essence of Mumbai through its police force, as a pictorial tribute to the heroes who keep us safe day and night.
“I feel very inspired by our men-in-uniform and have traveled far and wide to various borders to photograph them,” says Talan, who released a calendar called ‘Tribute to Mumbai Police’ this year. “Policing is a job that’s largely unseen. In spite of having the hardest possible work, a few isolated incidents where they are not able to deliver, are picked up and the image of entire police force tarnished. This isn’t fair.”
He approached Joint Commissioner (L&O) Deven Bharti for the necessary permissions, and was met with support and encouragement. “After clearing with Ahmad Javed (then commissioner of police), he ensured I had all possible support and made this shoot a possibility. I feel overwhelmed by the respect and honor given by the entire Mumbai Police Force,” he adds.
Policeman looking over boats along the coast.
The first police outpost was established in 1661, according to Talan. Today, the force has about 50,000 dedicated policemen, who have a jurisdictional area of around 603 square kilometres.
“With a population of nearly 1.4 crore, it is a tedious task for one policeman to be responsible for the safety and security of over 250 people,” he says.
Talan created a photo bank of nearly 1000 images. He explains, “To showcase the glory and efforts of Mumbai Police, I decided to shoot them in context of the city and subtly bring out the grandeur of Mumbai as well. Creating that balance was a huge exercise and it took me many weeks, but in the end it was all worth it.”
For Talan, the Mumbai police play an important and challenging role every day. Asked why he did this series, he said, “I did this more importantly to make proud those 50,000 families whose sons, daughters or husbands, work tirelessly in the force ensuring the safety and security of every Mumbaikar.”