J P Dutta goes back to the basics with war movie Paltan

The Asian Age.  | subhash k jha

Entertainment, Bollywood

With Paltan, the filmmaker has returned to direct a movie, 12 years after Umrao Jaan.

J.P. Dutta

Movie mogul and war film specialist J.P. Dutta is back in action with another flick titled Paltan.

And despite the setbacks that have come his way, Dutta is very satisfied with the results. “This was my first film without my father (writer O.P. Dutta, who has written dialogues for all his other movies). One reason why I’ve feared returning to filmmaking for so long is because I didn’t have my father for support,” he says.

But then God, says J.P gives something when he takes away. “I can’t tell you how smoothly the shooting in some of the toughest terrains 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. Like they say, bete zameen baant te hain, betiyan dil baandhti hain (boys divide lands, girls build hearts). I am lucky to have Nidhi and Siddhi support me at this stage of my career,” smiles Dutta. 

With Paltan, the filmmaker has returned to direct a movie, 12 years after Umrao Jaan. “How time flies,” he exclaims. “I still remember every detail from Umrao Jaan’s shoots in 2006. That’s when Abhishek and Aishwarya fell in love. It was a very special time.”

The movie unfortunately did not do well, and it really broke Dutta’s heart. “It was my first romantic movie. I guess the audiences identify me with war epics. Seeing me do Umrao Jaan was a culture shock for them,” he sighs. “So here I am, with a war film. I hope the audiences give it the same love they’ve given to L.O.C and Border.” 

Paltan will see some of Dutta’s favourites — Suniel Shetty and Jackie Shroff — back with him again. Unfortunately, Abhishek, who Dutta introduced with Refugee in 2000, couldn’t be a part of it. But the filmmaker insists there’s no ill will over the omission. “Abhishek is like my own son. He’s welcome to be a part of my cinema any time he likes,” he says. “Paltan gave me a chance to work with actors I’ve never worked with. It was an exciting film to make, and one that I’m proud of.”

The moviemaking scenario and economics of the trade have changed since he last made a film. “True,” he concedes. “But a good story and an engaging film will never go out of fashion.”