75th Independence Day: When JP Dutta braved death threats after Border to make LOC Kargil
JP Dutta received death threats after the release of his patriotic drama Border but that did not deter him from making LOC: Kargil. As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, here is looking back at the incident.
Filmmaker JP Dutta, whose war drama Border is considered to be one of the most rousing patriotic films made in India, faced a threat to his life after its release. His own family dissuaded him from making another war drama, LOC: Kargil, but he refused to ‘put (his) tail between (his) legs and run’.
On the 75th Independence Day of India, here is revisiting the incident. In a column for Forbes, Dutta wrote about being provided with two armed bodyguards after the release of Border as his life was in danger. He said that they were like his ‘shadows’ and stayed constantly by his side for three or four months. He would get several threats; the intent was to ‘teach (him) a lesson’.
Dutta decided to make LOC Kargil even as his family was against it. “I argued with my family, saying that we all have to die one way or the other. If he [a soldier] can stand there and die for me, why can’t I die for him? I am not going to put my tail between my legs and run. I will go out there and record history, whether it was (Lt) Manoj Pandey, or (Captain) Vikram Batra, or (Lt Saurabh) Kalia,” he said, naming martyrs of the Kargil War.
“I did not do the film for commercial reasons, or for the box office. I did not do the film by cutting it down to three hours or two-and-a-half hours. It was a four-hour film, and I retained that length because I had met the families of the officers and men, I had spoken about their children, how they grew up, how they fought. Had I cut the film, I would have had to remove their lives and their stories from the film. And I would not have been able to face those families ever again,” he added.
Dutta said that the threats stopped after LOC Kargil. The film, which chronicles the events of the Kargil War of 1999, featured an ensemble cast including Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Abhishek Bachchan, Suniel Shetty, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Akshaye Khanna, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Raveena Tandon and Esha Deol.