‘Shunted’ police officer meaning explored as Khakee: The Bihar Chapter premieres

Bruno Cooke December 2, 2022
‘Shunted’ police officer meaning explored as Khakee: The Bihar Chapter premieres

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Netflix‘s Khakee: The Bihar Chapter is an Indian crime thriller series in which Karan Tacker’s police officer character is “shunted” – meaning what, exactly?

The series premiered on Netflix on November 25, 2022. Its original language is Hindi. 

It consists of seven episodes in total, all of which arrived on the streaming platform at the same time.

Here’s a primer on what means when a police officer is “shunted” in the context of the Indian policing system, and a bit Amit Lodha in general.

Photo by Shivam Saxena/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Khakee: The Bihar Chapter and the general meaning of the word ‘shunt’

Another police officer informs Amit Lodha, played by Karan Tacker, of his transferral during the series.

The trailer includes the clip containing this particular piece of dialogue. When Lodha asks to “which district” he is being transferred, his buddy replies: “You’re being shunted.”

“Shunted” isn’t a word that comes up frequently in conversations about policing in the US. But its literal meaning is likely familiar to most audiences.

Generally speaking, to shunt means to push or shove something – or someone. In the context of trains and locomotives, it refers to the act of pushing or pulling a carriage from the main line onto a siding, or from one track to another.

What is a ‘shunted’ police officer? Meaning explored amid Khakee release

The meaning of the descriptor “shunted” when describing a police officer incorporates elements of the two definitions above.

Two news reports are particularly informative here. One is from the Pune Times Mirror (from November 22, 2022); the other is from The Indian Express (from January 2017).

The earlier of the two refers to an IPS officer as “shunted,” explaining that he was “transferred” from one location to another. In this case, the locations were Katni and Chhindwara, both in Madhya Pradesh, in India.

And the Pune Times Mirror story reports on “guilty cops” (cop = officer) being “shunted out,” meaning in this case, “transferred to the special branch.”

So a police officer being ‘shunted’ means being transferred to another location or branch

And in both of the contexts mentioned above, it appears to be a punitive measure, to some degree. A punishment for wrongdoing.

That explains the concerned look on Amit Lodha’s face upon hearing the news. There are other reports, too, of Indian police officers being shunted this way or that. 

One refers to a police commissioner ordering the “shunting out” of five police officers; another clarifies the meaning of the word by explaining that a police chief had “sent [two officers] to police lines” and “initiated a departmental enquiry.”

The Print’s writeup on the new series notes that the character in question “enters the world of crime” amid his mother’s fears he would “become a crime lord.” It also deals with the lauding and “lionisation” of “tough cops.”

It’s not hard to glean from this, as context, why the diegetic police commissioner “shunts” Lodha in Khakee: The Bihar Chapter.

Photo by Shivam Saxena/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

How many episodes are there in Khakee: The Bihar Chapter?

Seven episodes of the series premiered on Netflix on November 25, 2022.

As yet, there has been no official mention of a second season. 

The series is an adaptation of a book by Amit Lodha. Its name is Bihar Diaries: The True Story of How Bihar’s Most Dangerous Criminal Was Caught.

It came out in 2018. Lodha is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. He currently holds the rank of inspector general (IG) of police. 

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.