Kargil conflict now on the big screen
The border dispute with China on The Line of Actual Control (LAC) has been a major source of concern for all patriotic Indians. The soldiers may be battling it out on the front but the common man too has felt the pain and anger.
Director Nitin Kumar Gupta has tried to cash in on the sentiments attached to the border issue through his film, LAC.
The film had been extensively shot in Kargil under extreme weather conditions. While doing a recce for a suitable location for the film, the director and his team travelled to Srinagar but it lacked the exact terrain the team was searching for. Dras and Zojila Pass were also considered but it proved too extreme and windy. The team felt scary. They also explored Himachal Pradesh before finally settling in for Kargil and Leh. "We finally locked on Kargil, due to the availability of a good district hospital with specialist doctors, CT facilities and a dedicated covid building. Most of the other locations had lots of trees. In Kargil and Leh, we also had lots of local crew and talent, who were used to such conditions," said director Nitin.
The team also got quick permission from the district magistrate and the police for the shoot. What also aided the film's cause that the military costumes were all procured from the army camp there. Since the lockdown was still on along with travel restrictions, a very small team could travel to the venue.
But to get an authentic feel to the location, crew had to take a lot of risk and pain. "We wanted to shoot in really rough climate and terrain with no trees to reflect on the hardships soldiers face. We also shot inside the river where the temperature was -10 to -15 degree Celcius. The local crew was of great help as they were used to that kind of weather. It also snowed heavily in Kashmir around the time, which made it look more real," said Nitin.
The story for LAC revolves around some unknown people, who trespass inside Indian. As the army tries to send them back peacefully, they refuse. It is later revealed that the intruders had ulterior motives and then how the Indian Army reclaim the territory.
But the director-producer also had his share of difficulties as the lead protagonist, Rahul Roy, who plays a coronel in the film, developed serious complications and had to be airlifted in a chopper to Mumbai.
Nitin, who has always made very realistic films such as Death of an Ambassador and Sayonee, was also moved like many others with the exodus of migrant workers to their homes after the lockdown. His film, Walk, talks about the heartbreaking scenes of many of these labourers being killed on the roads and rail tracks. "We always keep reality in mind in the realm of fiction. Movies, without any real basis, feel very hollow. The sacrifice we all made should not be forgotten. We tend to forget sufferings in this fast-paced world. But to make Walk watchable and pleasant, I have tried to show optimism and depicted the sorrow of the workers and the police torture in a light-hearted way," said Nitin, who is an ophthalmologist.