‘Paltan’: J.P. Dutta’s new war epic is on its way

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Mumbai, Aug 3 (IANS) The breathless and pacy trailer of J.P. Dutta’s “Paltan” is done in shades of rusty-dusty virility.

“Paltan”, as the new war movie is called, suggests a large array of soldiers all dressed to kill. Aggression at the war front has always been a prime motivation for the filmmaker’s choleric epics. Moving away from the expected, the enemy this time is not Pakistan, but China. While focusing on the threat from the former, we often forget that the latter is a far more imminent threat.

The trailer shows a bunch of solidly committed soldiers played by familiar (Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood, Gurmeet Chowdhary) and not-so-familiar (Harshvardhan Rane) faces standing up to Chinese aggression. The crushing defeat in the 1962 India and China war is evoked though angry dialogues.

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This time, the soldiers promise they won’t let history repeat itself. And Dutta, the maestro of war movies, won’t let us forget that history has a way of repeating itself. The trailer, shot in frenzied and fragmented images of soldiers rushing in to take on their Chinese counterparts (one hopes the roles are played by authentic Chinese actors) has a genuine battle vibe to it.

Though the film doesn’t have the vast A-list cast of Dutta’s “LOC Kargil” (where everybody from Sanjay Dutt and Nagarjuna to Saif Ali Khan and Dutta protege Abhishek Bachchan pitched in with soldierly solidarity), the handsomely muted cast of “Paltan” is impressively uniformed. These actors look like soldiers who can protect our borders.

Also, this time Dutta doesn’t focus so much on the soldiers’ pining beloveds. I did catch a shot or two in the trailer where we see the girls running after their battle-bound beloveds. But overall, the focus here is, errr, uniformly on the battle being played out at the border without digressions into the soldiers’ love lives.

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Clearly then, Dutta has learnt from his past mistakes. I have a feeling “Paltan” would not stretch itself out into three hours of back and forth between border-line battle and homely heartaches. Brevity and bravado go hand-in-hand in the trailer of “Paltan”. The rugged outdoors with real guns and explosions would make “Patlan” a rare war outing in Bollywood.

I, for one, can’t wait for the first week of September when “Paltan” arrives in all its sinewy glory. Sorely missed would be Abhishek Bachchan. I searched for a glimpse of Dutta’s favourite whom he introduced 18 years ago in the underrated “Refugee”. When Dutta last directed a film — the ill-fated “Umrao Jaan” — 12 years ago, Abhishek fell in love with his leading lady Aishwarya Rai.

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There is love blossoming in “Paltan” too. Between the matrabhoomi (motherland) and its protectors. And that interrupted romance between Dutta and the war epic is also back on track.

All guns blazing.

–IANS

skj/rb/bg

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