Whenever we speak about war movies, there are quite a few that instantly comes to mind instantly such as "Saving Private Ryan", "Hurt Locker", "Dunkirk" etc., to name a few. In general, it would be fair to admit that Hollywood has always done an impressive job in crafting such war drama. Unfortunately, the same yard stick cant be applied to Indian movies as we haven't explored much in that genre & among the ones that were picturised, "Border" was definitely my favorite. So when it was announced that J.P Dutta was back with yet another war saga, "Paltan" I was eager to check it out. The question was whether Dutta still had the goods to deliver another gritty movie???
As history says, our nation suffered a crushing defeat in the hands of China in the war of 1962. This included documented reports as to how the Chinese resorted to dishonorable war tactics to defeat the famed Rajput regiment. About five years has passed but the tension between the nations shimmered at the border which led to constant skirmishes between the armies. Lt Col Rai Singh (Arjun Rampal) & his battalion was entrusted with the task of protection of Nathu La region from possible Chinese incursions. With the Chinese constantly needling his forces with the construction of bunkers & other structures into our land, Col Rai orders fencing to to be laid along the perceived border. As expected, this irks the Chinese & it eventually blown out into a full fledged war. So did our Army finally have their revenge for 1962???
J.P Dutta is an individual who needs no introduction with movies like "Border", "LOC:Kargil" to his credit. However, he has been keeping a low profile in recent times with his last release being the forgetful "Umrao Jaan", more than a decade back. Apart from direction, he has also taken on the responsibility of the script & screenplay; all of which were below par to be frank. He had a compelling tale to narrate but he wasnt able to do justice to it as the conflict between the nations portrayed here seemed more like kids fighting in school. The dialogues at most instances were short slogans & the people who mouthed them didnt even an iota of expression of them. Unlike his previous war dramas which had charismatic actors, over here we are left with a bunch of earnest individuals including experienced campaigners who struggles to capture our attention. The age old problem in Indian movies of portraying foreigners like British, Pakis etc as dimwits & with a single shade in their character is repeated yet again with the Chinese portrayed as an easily agitated school bully. On the technical side, Shailesh Awasthi & Nigam Bomzan has captured the locales pretty well while Anu Malik's music was average at best.
None of the known names like Jackie Shroff & Arjun Rampal were worthy of their roles as they seemed disinterested & even a robot could have delivered the dialogues as well as them or maybe even better. Among the rest, Harshvardhan Rane as Major Harbhajan Singh has done a fine job along with Gurmeet Choudhary while Sonu Sood was ok.
Verdict: Without mincing words, I would have to say that this movie doesn't have working in its favour & is destined to tank at the box office. Except for the emotional scenes that unfold towards the end, there is nothing else that would even remotely make us empathize with the movie. In short, forget it!!!