Veteran filmmaker J P Dutta will complete his war trilogy with his upcoming film, Paltan. The film based on the Nathu La clashes of 1967 has intrigued all fans since the launch of the trailer. As the release date is inching closer, the cast is equally eager for the film to hit the screens as the fans are.

In conversation with www.thestatesman.com, the cast of the film shared how the Paltan of actors was formed to narrate the war story.

“There is a magician named JP Dutta who got this magic done by putting all these fit guys together. And in no time we were in Ladakh — in uniforms shooting for the prestigious film called Paltan. And I think it was one of the most special moments for all of us and even we can’t wait for the release of the film,” said Sonu Sood.

Harshvardhan Rane, who would be seen as Major Harbhajan Singh, landed the role after Abhishek Bhachan, who was initially cast for the role, walked out of the film. Praising his co-star, who he believes has given everything in the film and the character, Arjun Rampal said, “Fortunately for Harsh, he got the opportunity and he has done a fantastic job.”

“When we asked J P Dutta how he cast us, sir said a very interesting thing. Most of these war heroes, real warriors are not with us. He said I have not cast, somehow for the film. The casting of the film is almost like those soliders have chosen you to play these roles. And that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us,” he added.

In order to make the scenes look authentic and resemble the border area in East Sikkim, J P Dutta scouted and recreated Nathu La pass in Ladakh.

The team had to cope up with the extreme conditions. Talking of the difficulties they faced while filming, Harshvardhan said, “Suddenly when you go to higher altitude and you aren’t getting adequate oxygen, so your body takes around 2-3 days to adjust and it was termed as climatizing.”

Arjun Rampal, however, added in a lighter vein, “It happens only to lesser mortals like us and if your a superhero or a superman like Sonu Sood, you get out of the plane and then put your uniform and shoot a running scene.”

“I think Sonu is such a large man and as soon as he came to Ladakh, he sucked everyone’s oxygen,” he quipped.

Earlier, Sonu Sood shared on social media that his father wanted to become a soldier but couldn’t fulfill his dream. The actor’s father died before he could watch Sonu play a soldier on screen. Now that his film is about to release, Sonu said, remembering his dad, “I wish he could have seen me in the army uniform.”

“I will always miss that feeling, that reaction on his face when he would have seen the film. I’m sure he will be watching somewhere,” he added.

While war stories definitely affect the viewers at some level, the cast also goes through an emotional phase. Paltan was no different. Arjun talked about what the team went through. He said, “Everyone wants to be a part of war film and you are firing real guns and ammunition but actually after we finished when you see the carnages, dead bodies lying there, the pyre you have to give fire to that is really emotional  and shaky.”

“I hope that people could resolve peacefully because war is really not a very beautiful thing and no soldier wants a war,” the actor added.

J P Dutta, who has treated the audience with films such as Border and LOC Kargil, aims to tell an untold story of the bravest of Indian soldiers who fought till the end.

The film will see an ensemble cast featuring Jackie Shroff, Arjun Rampal, Harshvardhan Rane, Gurmeet Choudhary, Abdul Qadir Amin, Sonu Sood, Sonal Chauhan, Esha Gupta, Monica Gill, Rohit Roy, Siddhant Kapoor, Luv Sinha, and Dipika Kakar.

Presented by Zee Studios and produced by JP Dutta Films, Paltan is directed by JP Dutta and is slated to release on 7 September.