The title which seems to be inspired by the Hollywood war classic PLATOON by Oliver Stone, Bollywood war movie veteran JP Dutta’s fourth movie in the same zone takes a lesser known lane in India’s war history. PALTAN set in 1967, tells the story of the Nathu La and Cho La clashes on the Sikkim border after the Sino-India war in 1962.
JP Dutta has the intent but his PALTAN lacks the content to make itself proud. The atmosphere in the Indian camp is dim, the 1962 war that India lost is deeply hurting the soldiers. The Nathu La and Cho La clashes are still in the memory. The war which failed to get the proper mention in the history books could have been the story worth saying but unfortunately it ends up asking why it was picked to do the needful without any proper insight. The saving of Sikkim from China by our brave hearts in real gets an unrealistic treatment and lack of authenticity. It’s like a scene where lights and camera are on but the action is missing. The overwhelming feeling of patriotism is missing. Unwanted back stories, unconvincing bromance, ( the obsession to recreate that border effect again, does not leave the director).
Soldiers talk in phrases and actors like Rampal show lack of interest. The one which is able to shine are Sonu Sood and Jackie Shroff from the lot comprising of, Gurmeet Choudhary (very average), Harshvardhan Rane (unconvincing), Siddhant Kapoor (lost) Luv Sinha (passable). The ladies - Esha Gupta, Sonal Chauhan, Dipika Kakar and Monica Gill are poor flashbacks. The enemy soldiers are shown as caricatures.
Technically much better, Nigam Bomzan and Shailesh Awasthi’s cinematography is eye popping if we ignore geographical accuracy. Sham Kaushal’s action is the best part. Ballu Saluja’s editing is as per desired. VFX is not at par. Music is another disappointment, Annu Malik falters with just one number ‘Main Zinda Hoon’ is soothing. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score adds to the momentum.
Like a war which in reality ends in achieves nothing, PALTAN fails to offer any take away. The once prolific JP Dutta who enjoyed the audience GULAMI and delivered drama with layers, was able to do the BATWARA between consistency and fluke at will as he knew his HATHYAR and how to use them that kept others at BORDERS but lately the maverick is found losing his midas touch and leaving a PALTAN of disappointment that is staring at him for answers.