Arjun Rampal on working with JP Dutta in Paltan: He is an incredible choreographer of war sequences

Abhishek Srivastava

Sep 09, 2018 09:51:34 IST

Arjun Rampal considers his selection for the war drama Paltan a proud moment in his career. The reason is a personal one and it relates to his grandfather. He discloses that his grandfather was part of the British Indian Army and had participated in the second World War at Indonesia where the infantry defeated the Japanese. It was also when he met the love of his life whom he married eventually – Arjun’s grandmother.

Arjun Rampal on working with JP Dutta in Paltan: He is an incredible choreographer of war sequences

Arjun Rampal in Paltan.

Arjun has now stepped into the shoes of Lieutenant Colonel Rai Singh in JP Dutta’s celluloid recreation of the Nathu La clash of 1967. The actor believes that while playing a true character it’s important to know his background. The material that Arjun gathered before the shooting of the film on the heroics of Rai Singh, also a strategist, was almost pitch perfect. “He was trained under the British Indian Army like a lot of soldiers from that era. He was a big fan of Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery who had participated in WWI and WWII and also did a stint in England for his training and then would teach the skill set he had gathered to soldiers back home.” Arjun further informs that he was a kind of officer who led from the front and hated sitting in his bunker.

Arjun considers JP Dutta a purist when it comes to filmmaking and believes that its difficult for him to visualise a frame that’s ‘small’ in nature. Ask him if he found any difference between his style of film making as compared to contemporary directors, and he mentions that there are directors and filmmakers and JP Dutta is a director. “The way he sees a shot is completely different. He can’t see a frame small and everything is large for him and that’s how he makes his movies. If his DoP were to put his camera in a certain angle, he would come and shift the camera a little bit and the dynamics of the whole shot would change. He is an incredible choreographer of war sequences which is just magical watching them on screen.” Arjun mentions that JP Dutta ensures that he define all his characters by endowing each of them with specific quirks.

It was also a first for Arjun when he toyed with real guns and bullets during the shooting of the film. According to the actor, the logic behind the usage of real arms and ammunitions was only to make the events in the film look as real as possible. “Fighting a war in a film is actually a make-believe war and film makers try to bring it to reality as close as possible. Every filmmaker has his own idiosyncrasies which make him different from others. The minute you are handed actual guns with actuals bullets, your whole body language changes. You start moving in a particular way and your alertness level gets enhanced by a 1000 percent. You enter a zone where you can’t do herogiri and it’s all about being responsible.”

Paltan is an all-male affair and the camaraderie that shaped up between the actors during the three months’ schedule of the film at Ladakh is something that Arjun will cherish in the days to come. “We used to go to monasteries and listen to chants and sometimes also meditated. Whenever there was free time we used to just take our bike and go around the city. We also worked out together and and went for jogging early morning. One thing that I discovered while shooting for the film was Luv Sinha’s fascination for Tinder. We used to call him 'Tinder Hunter' on the sets. He was the only guy on the sets who had Tinder on his phone.” But fun apart, the tough climatic conditions of Ladakh presented its own challenges. “It was tough to adjust initially. You need to acclimatise to the weather conditions as the place has 20 percent less oxygen than the normal. Luckily, I had been to Ladakh the year before for trekking and had climbed the Siachen glacier, so I was familiar with the terrain.” Arjun also reveals that the hotel room where they were staying were more like hospital rooms as they had their own oxygen tanks and loads of medicines in case of an emergency.

Arjun’s filmography also kind of throws a surprise as in the past four years the actors has been part of just four films. One reason that could be attributed to this aberration is the separation he recently had with his wife Mehr Jessia but the actors mentions that it’s got to do more with his mother’s ill health. “I think you make the choices you want to be part of and the films that you to do. You want to be associated with certain films. After Paltan, I start on four films. Sometimes you just get a lot of material while there are times when you want to take it easy. My mom was not well and I wanted to be with her and take it easy.” Though Arjun is not allowed to mention the films he has signed but he does drop a hint about its genres which is a mix of horror, biopic, thriller and fantasy.

The actor, who considers Platoon and Bridge on the River Kwai as his favourite war films, showed another facet of his talent during the release of Daddy. In Daddy’s credit role, apart from acting, Arjun’s name also featured in the writing department. Quiz him if he intends to continue with it and he mentions that writing is great for anyone. “It was more of screenplay for Daddy. Sometimes when you have a true story, you kind of sit and workout a screenplay. I did not write the whole story. I only put together the plot in terms of its structure. Of course, the dialogue and most of the thing was done by Ritesh,” clarifies the actor.

Updated Date: Sep 09, 2018 09:58:34 IST

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