Paltan: A War Film That Is Stuck Back In Time.

Movie: Paltan

Rated: 2.0/5.0

Cast: Harshavardhan Rane, Arjun Rampal, Gurmeet Choudhary, Jackie Shroff, Sonu Sood, Sonal Chauhan, Esha Gupta, Rohit Roy, Siddhant Kapoor

Director: J.P. Dutta

In 1997, when Border released, the Indian audiences found one of the best war films of that time. Then came L.O.C Kargil, another film by director J.P. Dutta that released in 2003. And now it has been 15 years since and the problem with Dutta’s latest war film is that it is stuck in the Border era!

The film is about the 1967 Indo-Sino standoff that resulted in a 3-day war. The film has its own high points- or rather a high point, but the number of disappointing moments weighs heavy and you may consider sitting through the film post the first half.

The first half gives a backstory of the 1962 wars and then focuses straight on the 1967 and the troupe posted in Nathu La to fight the invading Chinese Army. All’s well in the border, so thinks the director. There are face-offs that end in “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai”, a number of “Chowmein” and “Chinese soup” remarks, Chinese Army trying to encroach the border and Indian army preventing it, and talks about the “hauwa” that the Chinese Army has.

Yes, the first half was in fact, unintentionally funny at so many parts that it takes the feel away. Looks like Bollywood still wants to play a “4ft Chinese” cards in 2018.

But if you can sit through the first half, there is an engrossing climax in the second half. J.P. Dutta is a master when it comes to filming emotional scenes and war sequences. Here too, the war sequence is compellingly shot.  But except this and the two amazing songs in the background sung by Sonu Nigam in the second half, there isn’t really anything the film can boast about.

The cast falls weak in the film. The actors are earnest, but the performances still remain incomplete and had scope for so much more. Once again, like all other war films, the women in the film are just there to miss their men and take care of the household. What is more off-putting is the strained accent that each actor has, except for Luv Sinha maybe.

In fact, the technicalities of the film were way too weak, especially since this is a J.P.Dutta film. What was with the drum roll and quintessential Chinese tune for the background score throughout the first half and parts of the second half. They were jarringly distracting. So were the camera angles and the rapid zoom in zoom outs happening in most part of the film. The editing was also poor since much of the first half could have been easily shortened.

The film, to be honest, isn’t worth your time and money. A rerun of Border would be more engrossing!

Checkout audience rating ofPaltan