JP Dutta, best known for war films like Border and L.O.C Kargil, is back after twelve years to narrate another heroic tale of the Indian army. His upcoming muti-starrer Paltan chronicles the events that occurred after the 1962 Indo-China war. It is based on the Nathu La military clashes of 1967 which took place along the Sikkim border. Talking about the story of Paltan, Dutta told indianexpress.com, “It was something which was never told and never did we ever read about the skirmish that took place in Nathula. Somebody told me about this incident and I got interested in it and then started working on it.”
We asked the veteran director why the audience will watch Paltan. He said, “War dramas never existed until I came around. And, what attracted people to watch Border will bring them to the theatres for Paltan.”
JP Dutta continued, “For so many years, Border has been appreciated. People still react to it in a similar way as they reacted when they first saw it. A lot of Jawans are joining the army because of Border, so that is the kind of connection with the film. Now that I am doing Paltan, I don’t think anything has changed in the psyche of people, especially the youth. The youth today are more aware of their country and are more clear and very charged about India as such.” Giving a reason to watch his war drama in simpler words, he said, “If you are an Indian, you should watch Paltan.”
Further, the filmmaker also mentioned the research that went into the making of Paltan. He said, “I met the battalion, spoke to the commanding officer of the battalion and met the men who survived the battle. They gave me a detailed account of every day in Nathu La and shared every detail about the battle. So, whatever you will see in Paltan is true to the T.”
Dutta, whose last release Umrao Jaan came out in 2006, feels that there is a noticeable change in the process of filmmaking in all these years. “What has happened is now a film can be very good or very bad. There is no in between any more. Now with digital platforms, they are falling to such lows that it is very sad,” he opined.
Also, upset about the trend of box office figures being a parameter to judge a film, the Border director expressed his dismay, “Do you know why you are seeing more bad or good films? I believe, this land of the Indian film industry is of Goddess Saraswati and not of Goddess Laxmi. So when you run after Laxmi, Saraswati goes away and Saraswati Maa has left us. And since Saraswati has left, you don’t find a Lata Mangeshkar or a Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar here any longer.”