Drohkaal (English: Times of Treason) is a 1994 Indian crime drama film directed and produced by Govind Nihalani, which deals with India's fight against terrorism. The film examines the mental and psychological trauma that honest police officers go through in their fight against a group of ruthless terrorists. It was remade in Tamil as Kuruthipunal, produced by Kamal Haasan and directed by P. C. Sreeram, which was India's official entry for the 68th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category.
|Directed by||Govind Nihalani|
|Written by||Govind Purushottam Deshpande|
|Music by||Vanraj Bhatia|
|Cinematography||Govind Nihalani, Malay Roy|
|Edited by||Dilip Panda|
|31 August 1994|
Indian cities are being terrorized by a group of people who want the government to give in to their demands and are willing to go to any extent for that purpose. Honest, experienced and diligent cops Abhay Singh (Om Puri) and Abbas Lodhi (Naseeruddin Shah) are part of the anti-terrorism task force set up by the government to eliminate the menace.
Abbas Lodhi comes up with the idea of "Operation Dhanush", which involves sending two undercover cops, Anand (Manoj Bajpai) and Shiv (Milind Gunaji) among the terrorist group, so that they shall be part of them and learn all about them, and can call him through radio and transmit all the information under the code name Dhanush. Only Abbas and Abhay know about this operation.
Anand, one of the undercover cops, is exposed by the terrorists a few years later. However, he dies by consuming cyanide before they can get any information from him. Now Shiv is left alone in the gang. He soon wins the trust and respect of everyone in the gang, including the mastermind Commander Bhadra (Ashish Vidyarthi) himself.
Bhadra is captured and tortured by the police. But try as they may, he does not reveal anything to Abbas or Abhay. When Bhadra is in jail, the gang appoints one of their sharpshooters to kill a minister as he is approaching the city in his car, which he does successfully. This man is apprehended and interrogated by Abhay. He agrees to help the police for the safety of his family, but soon is poisoned in jail itself by a corrupt cop, Inspector Tiwari (Shrivallabh Vyas).
Soon one of Abhay and Lodhi's trusted and highly respected officers, and good friends, IGP Pathak (Amrish Puri), commits suicide when the CBI come to arrest him on charges of being linked with the terrorists. This comes as a rude shock for Abhay and Lodhi. They now realize that there are people all over who seem to be linked with the terrorists. Now Bhadra offers Abhay the chance to join with and help the terrorists, or else his family will be in danger. Abhay does not oblige. The terrorists shoot the family dog, killing it, shoot at Abhay's son's leg and injure him, and send messages directly and indirectly to threaten him.
Abhay finally agrees. Bhadra asks for Abhay to sham a fake kidnap drama and allow him to escape, which he unwillingly does. Lodhi is shocked at Bhadra's escape, but he does not understand why Abhay is acting strangely.
Now outside, Bhadra soon send two people, Surinder (Annu Kapoor) and Mala to stay in Abhay's house, and asks the latter to accommodate them. The two of them keep Bhadra informed about everything, and threaten to kill Abhay's wife and child if he were to try anything funny at any time. Only Abhay knows about their true identity.
Soon Bhadra meets Abhay, and under threat of his wife and child being killed by Bhadra's signaling to the couple at their house, Abhay reveals that it was Lodhi who had arranged for two undercover cops to be sent to the gang, and only he knows 'who' Dhanush really is. Abhay also comes to know that Inspector Tiwari, who was supporting Bhadra, has been eliminated.
The gang attacks Lodhi. He almost starts to finish them off, when he sees that one of the people sent to capture him is Shiv, so he goes along with them. Lodhi is beaten, but he does not reveal who the inside man is. Soon he is killed accidentally by Bhadra's pistol. The shock of all that is happening is too much for Abhay to bear. He tells everything to Sumitra (Mita Vashisht), who tells Abhay that as a Police officer, he had taken an oath to protect the nation, and he must go by that. She also says that she will take care of everyone and everything if he were not there.
Consoled, Abhay is then called for a late night meeting by Bhadra again. When he leaves for Lodhi's house first, Surinder tries to attack and rape a girl being taken care of by Abhay and his wife. At this point, Mala orders Surinder at gunpoint to leave the girl, but Surinder shoots Mala. Sumitra sees all this, and in order to save him, seduces Surinder. Once in the bedroom, she pushes Surinder off, and kills him with her own gun.
Abhay Singh is informed and he returns home, and consoles his family and bids them goodbye. He goes to meet Bhadra, where he attacks the criminal and is overpowered and bound to a chair. With only Shiv in the room, Commander Bhadra asks Abhay about the inside man, and suddenly points the pistol at Shiv. Abhay jumps off, attacks Bhadra, breaks free and stabs him in the neck with the broken wood of the chair. On hearing the commotion, as the entire gang comes from outside to break into the room, Abhay tells Shiv to shoot him, because then it will appear as though Abhay was killed when he attacked Bhadra, and Shiv being highly trusted, would become the new gang leader. A reluctant Shiv does so, just as the gang breaks in. Shiv declares himself to be the terrorist gang leader, and the others accept his leadership. Abhay Singh passes away in peace.
Ashish Vidyarthi won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. His performance was cited as "bringing credibility to his role with strength and total conviction". In 1996, Mita Vasisht won the Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1995, Nihalani won the Best Director Award at the Damascus International Film Festival for the film.