Set in 1971, this heroic tank battle film has Ishaan playing the lead role of war veteran Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta of the 45th Cavalry tank squadron who, along with his siblings, fought on the eastern front during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. It was with this battle, which took place in Garibpur, that India for the first time infiltrated and entered enemy land, thus leading Bangladesh’s liberation.
The film is written by Ravinder Randhawa, Tanmay Mohan and Raja Krishna Menon and is based on Brigadier Mehta’s book The Burning Chaffees. Though Ishaan is playing the lead role, the highlight of the film is the magnificent Russian amphibious war tank PT-76 aka “Pippa”, an empty ghee da dabba that smoothly floats on water. In their Pippa, Balram and his tank squadron fought the riveting 48-hour-long Battle of Garibpur that laid the foundation for and influenced the outcome of the impending war in India’s favour.
Talking about the movie, an excited Ishaan said, “Excited about leading this film, actor Ishaan Khatter shares, “I’m exhilarated to be a part of a film of such magnitude and importance, and getting a chance to play the role of the suave and spirited tank commander Captain Balram Mehta is a true privilege. I’m honoured by the faith shown in me by Ronnie sir, Siddharth sir and Raja sir and I’m looking forward to the exciting experience of Pippa.”
Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur shared, “While the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 is widely documented, one of its less-known chapters is the covert operation that became the Battle of Garibpur, which played a significant part in India’s eventual victory. This is the war that is often heralded as the only ‘just war’ in history because it was fought to save human lives and free a nation. Brigadier Mehta’s fascinating account resonated with us deeply, and we instinctively knew that Ishaan would be ideal to play him. Ishaan’s raw, youthful energy perfectly complements Brigadier Mehta’s valour and bravado. His acting chops paired with Raja’s sensitivity towards the subject, knowledge of every facet of this war and panache for large-scale action dramas, makes this all the more compelling a story for us to take to the screen!”
Producer Ronnie Screwvala added, “It’s not just about a great patriotic battle. The story of the 45th Squadron led by Captain Balram Mehta is one that needs to be told to this generation. This film is a visual celebration of not only India’s valour but also the sharp strategy shown by us during the year of 1971 along with our alliance with Bangladesh, all seen through the eyes of the Mehta family and their stirring internal and external conflicts”
“Pippa is a war film, but it also has an emotional core celebrating the triumph of love and humanity. The fact that there is going to be some never-seen-before tank war action is extremely thrilling to me as a filmmaker, but it’s the heroism and patriotism displayed by the young and strapping Brigadier Mehta, despite all that he was going through in his family, that really connected with me when Siddharth shared this story. I’m very happy that Ronnie and Siddharth have shown tremendous belief in my vision and I can think of no one better to do justice to the role than the terrifically talented Ishaan. This is truly going to be a special one!” concluded director Raja Krishna Menon.
Pippa, produced by RSVP and Roy Kapur Films, will hit the theatres late next year.
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