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JP Dutta is a name synonymous with war films as the filmmaker has churned out a couple of them like 'Border', 'LOC: Kargil' in the past. But what happens when the man himself seems to have lost his mojo and comes with a tiresome watch like Paltan? The result is heart-breaking! Inspired by true events, JP Dutta's latest outing is based on the Nathu La military clashes between India and China along the Sikkim border in 1967.
Paltan opens in the year 1962 where the Chinese attack the Indian soldiers at the Namka Chu lake in Arunachal Pradesh and as many as 1383 lives are lost. The scene then shifts to 1967 where we get to witness the simmering tension between India and China at the Naathu La border in Sikkim. The film narrates the story of how our Indian forces fought an intense battle to ward off a Chinese infiltration. At the same time, we also get to see a few strokes of their personal lives through few flashbacks.
While the idea of weaving a story around a forgotten history looks interesting on paper, JP Dutta fails miserably when it comes to translating his vision on the big screen in the form of 'Paltan'. The film looks devoid of a narrative. Instead, you feel like you have waiting in the cinema hall for ages for something to transpire on screen. The screenplay is wobbly and lines like, 'the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war' are passed off as dialogues. Oops, sorry to have broken your heart into two!
Speaking about the performaces, Arjun Rampal as Lt Col. Rai Singh and Sonu Sood as Major Bishen Singh lead the pack, but hardly pack a punch. Harshvardhan Rane shows a glint of hope in few scenes, but alas, that's short-lived. On the hand, Gurmeet Chaudhary's OTT act gets on your nerves after few minutes. Luv Sinha is terribly wasted while Siddhant Kapoor gets nothing more to do except translate Chinese dialogues for the men. Jackie Shroff pops up here and there in few scenes just to make you realize that he's also a part of the flick.
Coming to the leading ladies, sadly they just end up as mere fillers in the film. While Dipika Kakkar looks straight out of a 'Sasural Simar Ka' sets, Esha Gupta is terribly miscast. On the other end, Sonal Chauhan is just restricted to few glimpses in a song. Out of the lot, it's Monica Gill who shows some promise, but the script lets her down.
Shailesh AV Awasthhi and Nigam Bomzan's cinematography is average. Ballu Saluja's editing scissors should have been sharper. Paltan hardly has any scope for music.
JP Dutta's Paltan ends up as a poor cousin of his own previous film 'Border' with its wafer-thin plot and below-average performances. At a point in the film, Sonu Sood tells a fellow soldier, "Hamari Paltan ko..Bhagwan ne shayad issi kam ke liy bheja hai." Unfortunately, JP Dutta's soldiers fail miserably in their mission of giving us an emotional fare.