Scroll interview

JP Dutta on ‘Paltan’ and the Indian war film: ‘The armed forces are a good part of the country’

Starring Arjun Rampal, Jackie Shroff and Harshvardhan Rane, ‘Paltan’ will be released on September 7.

JP Dutta is back where he belongs: on the battlefield. The 68-year-old director’s new movie Paltan tackles India’s military operations against the Chinese army in Nathu La and Cho La in 1967. Dutta describes the September 7 release, whose cast includes Jackie Shroff, Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood, Gurmeet Choudhary, Harshvardhan Rane and Siddhant Kapoor, as the concluding chapter in his war trilogy. Border (1997) and LOC Kargil (2003) revisited crucial episodes in India’s armed conflicts with Pakistan. Meanwhile, Refugee (2000) marked the acting debut of both Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor and examined border crossing between India and Pakistan.

“All children love to play with guns and love action and war films,” Dutta said during an interview at his office, which has plaques and awards for his films on a shelf, framed posters of Stanley Kubrick and his classics A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket on the walls, and bound copies of RG Grant’s books on war and battle on the table. “I am like a child and I have got this toy called cinema and I play.”

‘Paltan’ is your first film since ‘Umrao Jaan’ in 2008. What does it feel like to be back on the sets?
Filmmaking is like cycling. Once you know how to ride a bike, whenever you come back to it, you get back to it. You do not have to learn again. Wherever I leave it, I pick it up from there.

Play
Paltan (2018).

At the trailer launch event, you said that you have ‘been sent to do this – to make our soldiers immortal’.
Every human being has a purpose in this life. Be it good or bad, they have a karma to perform. Keeping that in mind, when you know what your calling is and you have the vision to make movies, you start thinking about the subjects you want to make films on.

My family’s background is from the armed forces. My brother was in the air force and I lost him in an air crash. He was a fighter pilot. I have been very close to the armed forces, so I know their culture. I know their pains and frustrations, their highs and lows. That excited me.

My brother took part in the first war film that I made. He was part of that battle [of Longewala] and he flew in the battle. He came and told me the story and that is how I made Border. The pattern has now been turned into a trilogy with Paltan.

How did ‘Paltan’ take shape?
We only remember 1962 [the Sino-Indian war], which was a defeatist chapter of Indian history. One should try and be positive in life and look at the positive things of your country and history and try and depict that in motion pictures.

We are, all said and done, a young nation. The young generation should look up to positive things. Keeping all that in mind, I took it upon myself to show the good part of this life and this country. And the armed forces are a good part of the country.

Play
Sandese Aate Hai from Border (1997).

War films are often accused of being jingoistic. What are your views on the subject?
The word jingoism is used very liberally. It is thrown around in a big way. The word jingoism does not exist in families that lose men at the border. What exists is pain and suffering. That is the reality. It is talking about being patriotic in a derogatory manner.

Like Samuel Johnson said, patriotism is the last recluse of a scoundrel. However, that was in a different context altogether and not in the context of what we see as patriotism. That has been twisted over the years by a section of people who speak about being anti-violence and anti-war.

But the fact remains that as Plato has said, only the dead have seen the end of war. There has never been a moment on earth where there has been no war at some part of the world. Human beings by nature are in conflict all the time, for whatever reason. Wars are not going to disappear, but the evolution of man is still underway.

The world is getting more complicated and things are not looking very good. It is time people wake up and smell the coffee. Look at Israel. It is such a small nation, but see how they are strong. They are one.

Does the current political climate have anything to do with the debate over jingoism?
I was born post-independence. We only heard about the sacrifice of people who got us our independence. There was no question of jingoism, whether it was Subhash Chandra Bose or Mahatma Gandhi.

Jingoism means being aggressively patriotic. Everybody uses the word. India has never been an aggressor, but always been a liberator. We have never ever occupied anybody’s territory. So jingoism does not apply to India.

JP Dutta with Gurmeet Choudhary on the sets of Paltan. Courtesy JP Films/Zee Studios.
JP Dutta with Gurmeet Choudhary on the sets of Paltan. Courtesy JP Films/Zee Studios.

Among your earlier films, ‘Ghulami’ remains significant for the manner in which it tackles caste. How would the film have been received today?
Today, I am not so sure. The time I made the film, people were aware of the caste system. But now the young generation is not that aware. Western culture has come into our country in a big way. There are negatives and positive to Westernisation.

Another much-appreciated film is ‘Hathyar’, starring Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt.
Some of my critics always tell me that it was my finest work. It was Bombay-based. Working with Dharmendra ji, Chintu [Rishi Kapoor] and of course Sanjay Dutt was a lovely experience. It was easily one of my finest works.

Play
Hathyar (2002).

You have often expertly handled an ensemble cast. How much of this stems from the writing, and how much happens on the sets?
I do not know how it all came about. There is a certain trust that the actors have in me. They are confident that they will be presented in a nice way. I guess I have never done any film that has been questionable. I don’t stoop to conquer.

It is not really challenging to handle an ensemble cast. Once you trust them, they trust you. It is a beautiful journey. I have had a great time with all of them and I am thankful to all those actors with whom I have worked.

Which of your films have challenged you the most – was it ‘Border’?
It is LOC Kargil. It was a four-hour film. The first cut was six hours. It was difficult. Another challenge was the huge star cast. That was the most difficult project of my life. Border was tough, but I enjoyed it. Because I was a first-time producer with the film.

You have posters of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ on your office wall. Has Kubrick influenced you in any way?
There are two filmmakers who have inspired me. David Lean and Stanley Kubrick. I am inspired by their cinema. I have seen all of their films and look at them as a student. I like their films for the visual impact that they create.

Play
LOC Kargil (2003).
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

Play

The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.