Filmmaker JP Dutta talks about Paltan and why war stories matter
When did you get the idea of making the film, Paltan, based on the 1967 Nathu La military clashes ?
A couple of years ago, I got some information from my friends in the army about the clashes in 1967. Apparently
not many people know about it. I met several officers, their families and collected information from as many sources as I could.
Why are war movies so important to you?
My younger brother was an army pilot. I lost him in a plane crash in 1987. That’s how the journey started. He used to tell me about the Battle of Longewala (on which the 1997-movie Border is based). He was a part of the battle.
All armed conflict, at the end of the day, is futile. As a filmmaker, I try to convey this. The aggressors should be told that they cannot do this.
What is a filmmaker’s role in nation building?
All filmmakers are a product of their experiences. Everybody has different experiences, which is why their choices are different. As a filmmaker, I feel responsible for showing the real side of the armed forces and battles they fight.
How crucial is it to tell stories about soldiers?
I have been told that, after watching Border, many young boys joined the army. That’s a great achievement for the
film. It’s an achievement for the soldiers who fought that battle. Politics affects soldiers, too. But, on the battlefield, their motto is very simple: Do or die. They only live for the army and for their families back home.
How do you think the younger generation will respond to Paltan?
Positively, I hope. I have great hopes from the new generation. They have a lot of clarity and are very practical. I believe that we are underestimating them.