JP Dutta and Abhishek Bachchan
The increasingly strained relationship between India and China is slowly but surely making its effects felt in Bollywood. mid-day had earlier reported how the makers of Tiger Shroff's Baaghi 2 had deferred their China schedule.
Now, JP Dutta's Paltan, which is based on the 1962 Indo-China war and stars Abhishek Bachchan, has fallen prey to the tension between the neighbouring countries. The filmmaker has had to drop the idea of casting Chinese actors in his war drama — this, after he had already approached casting agencies in China to scout for two actors who would play Chinese officers in the movie.
Dutta's daughter and executive producer of Paltan, Nidhi says, "We've decided not to get Chinese actors on board. The decision was made last week. I had wanted Chinese actors because I wanted to make Paltan as authentic as possible. I'm trying to recreate the actual incidents that had happened in the Indo-China war. It was difficult to convince dad to go ahead without Chinese actors, but we had no option, given the political climate."
Nidhi rues that roping in local actors for the role of Chinese officers will take away from the film's authenticity. "There are scenes where the officers will be required to talk to each other in Chinese. It won't be easy for someone who is not a native, as Chinese is not an easy language."
Dutta, who has previously explored the India-Pakistan war of 1971 in Border (1997), thinks the Indo-China war is a story that needs to be told. "It was played down by those in power then, which disturbs me a lot," he says,
before adding, "At 5.30 am, the Chinese army attacked us, took us completely by surprise and within a couple of hours, they had wiped out a complete battalion. Nobody talks about these things. The subject has been on my mind for some time. So, I decided to make a film on the unsung heroes of the 1962 war."
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