War specialist J P Dutta is back with his new war film(what else?) entitled Paltan. And despite setbacks, J P is very satisfied with the results. “This was my first film without my father (writer O P Dutta who has written the dialogues of J P Dutta’s film before Paltan). One reason why I’ve feared returning to filmmaking for so long is because I didn’t have my father anymore to hold my hand.”
But then God, says JP, takes with one hand gives with another. “I can’t tell you how smoothly the shooting in some of the toughest terrain went. And it’s all because of my elder daughter Nidhi who took charge of the entire production. In fact both my daughters have been a tremendous support. Who kehte hain na, bête zameen baant-te hain, betiyan dil bandhti hain. I am lucky to have Nidhi and Siddhi to support me at this stage of my career.”
With Paltan JP returns to direction after 12 years. “How time flies! I still remember every detail from the shooting of Umrao Jaan in 2006. That’s when Abhishek and Aishwarya fell in love. It was a very special time.,” recalls JP fondly.
Unfortunately Umrao Jaan didn’t do well. And it really broke JP’s heart. “It was my first romantic film . I guess audiences identify me with war epics. Seeing me do Umran Jaan was a culture shock for audiences . So here I am back with a war film. I hope the audience gives it the same love that they gave to my earlier war films Border and LOC.”
Paltan brings back some of JP’s favourite actors Jackie Shroff and Suniel Shetty who have worked with him repeatedly in the past. Unfortunately Abhishek Bachchan whom JP introduced in Refugee in the year 2000 could not be part of Paltan.
JP insists there is no ill will over this omission. “Abhishek is like my own son. He is welcome to be part of my cinema any time he likes. Paltan gave me chance to work with actors I had never worked with. It was an exciting film to make, and one that I’m proud of.”
The movie-making scenario and economics of the trade have changed since J P Dutta last made a film. “True,” he concedes. “But a good story and an engaging film will never go out of fashion.”