Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur’s next film Pippa starring Ishaan Khatter to be directed by Raja Krishna Menon
Ishaan Khatter is all set to star in his first war film, Pippa. The first-of-its-kind action-packed war film helmed by director Raja Krishna Menon (of Airlift fame) has been announced by producers Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur. The film will have the celebrated army tank – the magnificent Russian amphibious war tank called the PT-76, popularly known as ‘Pippa’ – at the crux of the film. The title highlights this tank which was lovingly called the ‘empty ghee da dabba that smoothly floats on water’.
Ishaan will be seen in the 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 in their Pippa that Balram and his tank squadron fought the riveting 48-hour-long Battle of Garibpur and India for the first time infiltrated and entered enemy land, thus leading to the liberation of our neighbour Bangladesh. This historic battle, which took place in Garibpur, influenced the outcome of the impending war in India’s favour.
Excited about leading this film, Ishaan Khatter shares that he’s looking forward to the exciting experience of Pippa. The actor says, “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.”
This heroic tank battle film is written by Ravinder Randhawa, Tanmay Mohan and Raja Krishna Menon and is based on the book The Burning Chaffees, written by the Brigadier himself. In addition to the war-front bravado, this story also explores the poignancy of a family displaced during wartime amidst the backdrop of the heart-wrenching refugee crisis that plagues our world even today.
Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur shares, “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.”
Ronnie Screwvala (producer of the 2019 superhit Uri: The Surgical Strike) says, “It’s not just about a great patriotic battle. 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.”
Director Raja Krishna Menon adds, “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.”
The key roles of Mehta’s elder brother and younger sister, who also conducted themselves bravely during the war, are in the process of being cast. Produced by RSVP and Roy Kapur Films, Pippa will hit theatres late next year (2021).