Mumbai Police was wrong in pulling up Varun Dhawan. Here’s why

Taking selfies at a traffic signal is not yet a real problem for Mumbai.

 |  5-minute read |   23-11-2017
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Despite his back-to-back flops, Varun Dhawan has definitely more followers than the Mumbai Police. And the latter will lose fans if it again does what it did today. In an apparent attempt to come across as both “cool” and responsible at the same time, it pulled all the wrong strings as they penalised the actor for breaking traffic rules.

The Mumbai Police tweeted a photo taken by a Mid-Day photographer in which the actor was seen taking a selfie from his car with a fan, who was sitting inside an auto-rickshaw. The caption read, “Want a selfie? Let me do it for you”. Varun’s upper body was out of the car as he was leaning for the selfie, which proved that he was not wearing the seat belt. The tweet was annoyingly serious. It said that the Mumbai Police expected a youth icon, like Varun Dhawan, to act responsibly and this time they just issued a challan. Next time, there would be harsher measures.

Was it a joke? Many twitteratis felt what we were also wondering. No, it was not a joke. But the Mumbai Police obviously became a joke as the actor clarified what had actually happened.

Apologising for no-one-knows-what, Varun said that he took the selfie while he was waiting at a traffic signal as he didn’t want to “hurt the sentiment of a fan”, but he would keep the safety issues in mind in future.

Interestingly, this fact was clearly written in the caption of the photo that as Varun spotted a fan trying to take his picture at a traffic signal, Varun helped her taking a selfie.

So, did the Mumbai police not read the caption before tweeting? That was unlikely, given the intelligence the Twitter handle has proved in its earlier tweets against various wrongs on roads and elsewhere.

Then it leaves us with the second option that according to the Mumbai Police, clicking a selfie at a traffic signal violates rules. In that case, look at the photo again. What do you think the photographer and the auto-rickshaw driver were doing, if Varun was flouting rules? And also, what was your traffic surveillance doing at that crossing, if you have to go through the newspaper the next morning to find out who flouted traffic rules yesterday?

And then Mumbai Police was at it again. Expressing gladness that Varun took the tweet in the “right spirit”, the Mumbai Police again tweeted and said, “Leaning out even in a stationary vehicle can be distracting for others considering your popularity,”

It also occurred to them, albeit a little late, that the presence of a photographer at the same signal to capture Varun’s “gesture” was quite a “galactic coincidence”.

Twitteratis were prompt to take on the Mumbai Police as they poured out their collection of images on Twitter, which showed that Mumbai Police was not always as alert as this. And then there were some photos of “serial offender” Salman Khan, and Prime Minister PM Modi, all in good humour.

The Mumbai Police loves to associate with Bollywood and it has a reason. Roping in Bollywood actors for their campaigns, referring to movie dialogues help them reach a greater audience, mostly youth and the probable rule-breakers. Recently, it used a photo and a dialogue of Sholay to create awareness against cyberstalking and taught how to deal with online “gabbars”.

It also used a scene of Ranveer Singh-starrer Befikre to discourage drunken driving.

Be it issues like peer pressure, bullying, pollution or dangerous pillion riding, it loves to borrow from Bollywood.

But this is one stray incident. Unlike cyberstalking and drunken driving, taking selfie at a traffic signal is not a real problem for Mumbai. How many such cases occur in a day?   

Aren’t there real issues like parking problems, private cars using tag of police and flouting rules, political rallies bringing traffic to a standstill flouting all rules at the same time? Don't those problems need much more attention? 

So, Mumbai Police, don’t be a bully, especially after running a successful campaign against bullying.

Also read: Why Narendra Modi turned out to be such a disappointment

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