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Meet the Man Behind Mumbai’s Famous Police Bappa

Mumbai people are thronging Police Inspector Rajendra Kane’s official quarter in Vile Parle police lines to see Police Bappa. Last year, Bappa was dressed up as an IPS officer; this year, he is dressed up as a Mumbai policeman fighting cyber crimes. A song video dedicated to Police Bappa was released by Maharashtra’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis on this Ganesh Chaturthi.
Indian Masterminds Stories

During the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mumbai, Inspector (Crime), Vile Parle Police Station, Mr. Rajendra Kane’s official quarter sees a sea of visitors, both from the police and the public. But, they visit not to meet the Police Inspector. They visit to see Police Bappa.

Yes! Maharashtra’s most loved deity, Lord Ganesha, comes dressed up as a policeman to Inspector Kane’s home at this time of the year. Last year, he came as IPS Bappa. This time, he is Police Bappa, with a cell phone in his hand, giving gyan on cyber crimes.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Mumbai Police Inspector Rajendra Kane spoke about his unique idea to dress up Ganpati Bappa as a policeman.

TO DRAW PUBLIC CLOSER TO POLICE

Inspector Kane said that the whole idea behind dressing up Bappa in police uniform is to make the common man comfortable with the police. “People are usually scared of the police. So, I thought it would be a good idea to dress up Bappa as a policeman. Bappa is much loved and adored in Maharashtra. So it will warm the people towards the police force when they see their beloved God as a policeman,” he said.

IPS Bappa and Traffic Bappa of previous years

SPECIAL THEMES EVERY YEAR

Ganpati Bappa does not just come as a policeman to Mr. Kane’s home every year, he also comes armed with a special theme. And every year, it’s a different one. Mr. Kane explained to Indian Masterminds: “I thought of having a theme around Police Bappa, so as to create awareness among people about the police and the kind of work they do. The first year, the theme was on the police station; second year, it was on nabbing thieves; third year, it was on traffic awareness; fourth year, I had to give a miss because of the pandemic; last year, it was IPS Bappa fighting Covid; and this year, it is Police Bappa creating awareness about cyber crimes.”

CATCHY VIDEO ON POLICE BAPPA

This Chaturthi, Police Bappa has not only come with a special theme on cyber crime, he has come with a catchy song, too! The video of the song was released on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi by Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis, during puja at his official residence. The lyrics of the song have been written by Inspector Kane and it has been sung by popular Marathi singers of the state.

“As cyber crime is the latest favourite crime zone of criminals, and seeing even educated and highly qualified people falling prey to it, I thought of creating awareness among the public about the different types of cyber crimes and how to avoid becoming a victim of such crimes,” Inspector Kane said.

Deputy CM of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis releasing the video of the ‘Police Bappa’ song. Also in the pic, Director Rahuul Khandare (second from left) and Inspector Rajendra Kane (second from right).

This is not the first time that such a video has been made. Till now, about five videos have come out, each on a different theme. Last year on International Women’s Day on 8 March, a video on Maharashtra Police special women unit, Nirbhaya, was released. “The idea to make videos was suggested to me by Joint Commissioner of Police, Mr. Viswas Nangre Patil sir, who said that we should do something different to get people’s attention. So, I made a short video for the first time on an experimental basis and everybody seemed to like it. That inspired me to make more,” Inspector Kane said.

In almost all his videos, he has worked in close collaboration with Mr. Rahuul Khandarre, a Mumbai-based film director/producer of repute, who was also in the production team of Oscar-winning Hollywood movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.

Mr. Khandarre told Indian Masterminds: “Police Bappa is the fifth video with Mr. Kane. I had worked with him during the lockdown, too, when everybody was at home, to create awareness about Covid. This time’s topic, cyber crime, is a relevant one and so we decided to make the video in a traditional way, roping in popular Marathi singers, so that it reaches a larger audience. And as Mr. Fadnavis sir, being the Home Minister, is the head of the police force, we requested him to launch it.”

Watch the Police Bappa video here:

HOW POLICE BAPPA CAME HOME

Police Inspector Kane further said that ever since he saw one of his teachers bring Bappa home, he had always harboured a desire to do the same. He said, “That image stayed in my mind and I always hoped to
bring Bappa home. And, six years back, when I finally decided to bring him to my police quarter, I decided to dress him up as a policeman since he was coming to the police lines.”

His colleagues and seniors in Mumbai Police appreciate the step as it is helping in building and fostering good police-public relationship. Mumbai citizens throng the Vile Parle police lines to catch a glimpse of Police Bappa. “It’s helping us to win people’s trust and build a close bond with them, just like the close bond between Bappa and his devotees,” Mr. Kane said.


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