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‘Paltan’ Movie Review: This war-drama stretches a bit too long

Directed By: J.P. Dutta
Produced By: Zee Studios and J.P. Films
CastJackie Shroff, Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood, Gurmeet Choudhary, Harshvardhan Rane, Siddhant Kapoor, Luv Sinha, Esha Gupta, Sonal Chauhan, Deepika Kakar, Monica Gill
Duration: 2 hr 10 min
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2/5

If ‘Paltan’ had cut short its running time by 30-40 minutes, it would have worked much better. The war that happens at the climax is pretty decent and is reminiscent of the war scenes in ‘Border’. That intensity is there, and even though it is melodramatic, you feel great when India finally wins the war.

Otherwise, the film is strictly average. You don’t really connect to any of the characters, the Chinese army is made to look like a bunch of buffoons and the film keeps beating around the bush without any direction.

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Plot

The film starts by introducing its entire cast, which unfortunately is not as accomplished as the one we saw in ‘Border’. Gurmeet Choudhary is no Akshaye Khanna and Harshvardhan Rane is no Sunil Shetty. The story is slow, and usually involves the two armies squabbling over the Nathu La border. At one point, we see a bunch of men with guns preferring to pelt stones at each other. The dialogues fail to do the trick too, and

Performances

The performances seem a little forced, and everyone except Arjun Rampal fails to look genuine. There is a lot of shouting and chest thumping but more often than not, the enthusiasm is without any rhyme or reason. Probably the actors are trying to show their patriotic spirit, but getting overly dramatic at the drop of a hat (it may work fine in war scenes) does not invoke a sense of patriotism.

Direction and Cinematography

There’s way too much melodrama, which takes away all the joy you may feel looking at the scenic beauty of Sikkim. The camaraderie between the soldiers fails to hit the right notes, and the back stories of the soldiers are extremely cliche’d. Perhaps with a better script and better dialogues, the actors would have been able to say things with conviction.

If you look for the positives, the death scenes have been well done.

Music

Even here, the movie fails. The songs pale in comparison to the ones that Dutta had in ‘Border’ or ‘Refugee’. The worst of the lot is the title track, which hardly invokes a sense of patriotism.

What’s Good

The last 30 minutes of the movie is riveting, especially if you’ve not seen a war film for a long time. Other than that, it’s extremely hard to write anything good about this movie.

What’s Bad

The over the top performances and the contrived screenplay is what wrecks the movie beyond repair. Harshvardhan Rane is exceptionally bad in his role as Major Harbhajan Singh.

Final Verdict

We would recommend that you either watch ‘Gali Guleiyan‘ or ‘Laila Majnu’ over the weekend.

Watch the trailer here: 

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