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Rare & Exclusive:  27 Years Of Border, J P Dutta Reminisces



J P Dutta

J P Dutta is to  Indian cinema what David Lean was to  British cinema. His epic vision swept across  Rajasthan’s  sandscape in colossal  dramas  which remain a  testimony to

“I don’t know why most of my films were located in Rajasthan. Maybe I was born in Rajasthan in my last life,” a faint smile  cracks JP’s grim visage at the mention of his Rajasthan fixation. After Yateem(1988), Hathyar(1989), Batwara(1989), Kshatriya(1992) and Border(1998) JP has now moved on, leaving both Rajasthan and the Deols behind.

Border remains the single most important war epic of Indian cinema. Recalling the film’s success, filmmaker J .P.  Dutta says, “There was a lot of junoon and passion behind that film. Although we didn’t have the financial resources of international war epics  Dunkirk or 1917, we made it exactly the way we wanted to without compromise. All the actors — Sunny Deol,  Akshaye Khanna, Tabu, Pooja Bhatt,  etc. — were fiercely dedicated. They spent months on locations where there were no amenities, forget luxury hotels.”

27 years have passed since J P Dutta’s iconic war film was released. It remains the work this epic filmmaker  is most closely identified with, although it isn’t the finest film he has made.

The song Mere Dushman Mere Bhai   from J P Dutta’s Border, sung with immense affection by Hariharan, had Anu Malik pulling out all stops to create the perfect tune for Javed Akhtar’s outstanding poetry on across-the-border brotherhood.

JP says, “It wasn’t easy writing a song in Border that pleaded for sanity between the two countries at a time when politicians were baying for blood. But I believe we needed a voice of sanity. I didn’t project anti-Pakistan sentiments in Border.The film was born out of my anguished comprehension of a complicated and tangled relationship between India and Pakistan. We’re brothers and yet, we’re enemies.”

 JP, always reluctant to speak about himself and his films, agrees, “Border just connected with audiences. It was destiny, I guess.There were some other films that I was  equally proud of like my first release Ghulami, then Hathyar and Batwara. I am also very proud of my other war film LOC Kargil.”
Border also saw the end  of JP’s long friendship with Sunny Deol. Deol played a Sadar soldier in Border. He never worked with  JP again.

What went wrong? Apparently, Sunny’s production company Vijayta Films(now defunct)  wanted a financial statement about the foreign exchange earnings they earned from the equipment they had used for JP’s production company. Since JP himself owned an export company he naturally wanted to use the FERA benefits for his own company and declined to give the required letter to the Deols.

Now  27 years later, all hostility between  JP  and Deol has been washed away. They are working together in Border 2.However  JP would in no way be involved directly with the making of this so-called sequel. His  daughter Nidhi and  director Anurag Singh are helming the  project.

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