Story: Paltan is based on true events at the actual line of control between India and China at Nathu La pass – a strategically important corridor between India and Tibet. It is the story of bravehearts from Indian Army’s Rajput battalion, who put up a spirited defense against their unreasonable Chinese counterpart in 1965.
Review: India is an idea, worth dying for – it’s not just a line from the film but also the patriotic notion that keeps the soldiers of JP Dutta’s Paltan marching on. Film’s narrative begins soon after the Indo-Sino war of 1962. Interestingly, that war is referred to as skirmish between both sides, but what follows are more squabbles. This time to save Sikkim from the Chinese army who is treacherously inching toward the Indian side.
Director JP Dutta puts together a team of dapper young and experienced actors to portray real characters from this important yet much lesser known slice of history.
Arjun Rampal as Lt Col. Rai Singh and Sonu Sood as Major Bishen Singh respectively lead the pack not only as top ranking officers but also in performances. Among the younger lot, Harshvardhan Rane stands out as a passionate soldier while Gurmeet Singh Choudhary goes overboard, especially with an accent that oscillates between Jatt Haryanvi and Rajasthani. Luv Sinha as the amiable Attar Singh gives his cheerful best while Siddhant Kapoor is easily forgotten.
But the ones who lose the acting battleground are those playing the Chinese army men. For such important roles, we see caricature figures who simply shout ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ after every face-off and do not look menacing enough to be taken seriously.
Shot in real locations, Paltan recreates the 1965 setting, but not the corresponding tension. Director JP Dutta who is also the screenplay and story writer, stays quite rooted to his original style of storytelling. But he uses repetitive conflicts and half-baked backstories that add more to the runtime than the narrative. Bromance between the jawans lacks emotional depth and conviction. All of this collectively blunts much of the desired impact of what could have been a riveting war film.
However, Paltan manages to undo some of the damage in its final moments that are truly action packed. Director JP Dutta fires all his ammo in a rousing climax for a bitter sweet victory.