Art & Entertainment

Raja Krishna Menon On War Drama 'Pippa': I Don’t Mind If I’m Hated Or Loved, But What I Despise Is Being Ignored

It's easier to make jingoistic films, believes “Pippa” director Raja Menon, who says he was lucky to have a team that let him stick to his conviction while crafting the upcoming 1971 India-Pakistan war drama.

Raja Krishna Menon
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It's easier to make jingoistic films, believes “Pippa” director Raja Krishna Menon, who says he was lucky to have a team that let him stick to his conviction while crafting the upcoming 1971 India-Pakistan war drama.

Menon, known for films like “Chef” and “Airlift”, said he is happy that producers embraced his idea of creating “Pippa” in the least jingoistic manner.

"It is easier to make bombastic, jingoistic, ‘we are going to kill everybody’, or ‘chop off people’s head' (kind of films). I was fortunate that the universe was right for the film from the producers, actors, technicians and everybody who is part of it, we all agreed that’s not the film that we are going to make, and managed to stick through it,” the director told PTI in an interview.

Billed as a heroic tank battle, "Pippa" revolves around the bravery of Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, played by Ishaan Khattar, a veteran of the 45th Cavalry tank squadron, who, along with his siblings, fought on the eastern front during the war of 1971.

"We are trying to tell a real story. Cinema takes a lot of money and a lot of times people tend to take the easiest road, especially when you have a film mounted on a big scale. I was fortunate to have people around me who allowed me to not take that road and stick to my conviction,” the director added.

Menon hopes that seeing a real story of a war film will be entertaining for the audience.

"I hope it (film) resonates. People like something different and I think people will react to it in some way. I don’t want to be ignored, I don’t mind if I’m hated or loved, but what I despise is being ignored, then what are we doing?

Khatter, who plays Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, remarked that “Pippa” shows a journey of righteousness without any "external bravado".

"It was more about the human journey, which was very compelling. It is something that we don’t see often. The righteousness and the resolve that they had, the conviction that they had that they were fighting for the right thing, they fought for the liberation of other people.

"That emotion is so strong and unique, it is different from, ‘Hum jaa kar tabahe macha denge'.... It was a very beautiful emotion to play as a young actor and I hope people see that,” he said.

The 28-year-old actor said playing an age-appropriate role in a war film like “Pippa” is a “rare” opportunity for a young actor like him.

"I'm fortunate that I got this opportunity because he (Menon) cast me. And by virtue of that, you will see a totally different war film, a slightly more authentic film. I was 26-year-old when we were filming the battle of Garibpur. So, he (his character) was 26 and I was 26, and it was a beautiful accident that happened,” he said.

"Pippa", which also stars Mrunal Thakur and Priyanshu Painyuli, will start streaming on Amazon Prime Video from November 10.

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Thakur, best known for films like “Love Sonia”, “Super 30”, “Jersey”, said she is looking forward to the premiere of "Pippa" ahead of Diwali.

“We are happy that the film that we shot, that we truly believed in, it’s coming out at the best time on Diwali. I feel so blessed that my three films, ‘Toofaan’, ‘Sita Ramam’, and ‘Pippa’ have been released on Amazon Prime,” she said.

Menon said the wait for the film, which was ready last year, has been worth it.

“It is exciting. I don't think there’s relief, relief would mean at some point we lost hope. We knew that things were difficult, the (theatrical release) environment was difficult. But we believed in the film that we made and we decided to wait till we had the right time."

“Pippa” is backed by producers Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur.

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