Interviews with the cast and crew of LOC
The interviews of J.P.Dutta, Suniel Shetty, Bikram Saluja, Kareena Kapoor, Karan Nath, Armaan Kohli, Puru Rajkumar and Anu Malik on LOC-Kargil.
Music is always given a special importance in any of your war film. Why so?
In India music is the most important element, be it any festival or happy occasion. I have always been taught since childhood that cinema and music go hand in hand.
The film has a 13-minute long record-breaking song. Tell us something about that song?
Though the song is very long when you look it on screen you will feel it's too small. The song is picturized on almost all my actors in the film. It's a huge song with a lot of visuals, lot of actors and lot of emotions.
The film has a multi-multi starcast, perhaps never gathered together before. Did you always want to make a film will all the Bollywood stars?
I never thought of making a film with all these stars. The subject dictates the number of stars. Kargil was such a subject that I wanted so many stars. If it were in my hands, I would have gone for 100 or 200 actors. There were many officers and jawans whom I could not cover in the film and I feel very sad about that. If the medium of cinema had permitted, I would have made a 10 or 15 hour long film. So many personalities have sacrificed their life for us. When we were comfortably sleeping in our homes some soldier was taking a bullet in his eye, some in his head. We can just thank them through our speeches or films, but the fact is that they have done much more than we can thank or think of.
Your earlier films have won the National Award for music. What expectations do you have from this film?
For Border, Javed Akthar and myself had won the National Award, for Refugee Javed Akthar and Anu Malik won the National Award. Let's hope, perhaps this time, all the 3 of us win National awards for LOC.
How much of a patriotic film is it?
It's all about patriotism. As the caption says 'Before we forget, lets salute the martyrs of Kargil'.
In news we read so much about Kargil, so what new perspective does this film give?
It won't be a new perspective but you will identify every soldier who sacrificed his life for the country. It was an atmosphere where they were ready to do anything. The kind of army that we have, the force that we have is easily the best in the world. They were been shot like sitting ducks. The positions were like; they were on the top we were below, we were climbing, we couldn't shoot, they were shooting. But thousands of soldiers died to get back what was ours.
Is your character based on a true-life person?
All characters are based on true-life persons. Like my character of Sanjay Kumar, who was an ordinary soldier! When his bullets were finished he tied a tape on his hand, climbed the hill, pulled the LMG's and MMG's from the enemy's bunkers, and reversed the same guns on the enemy. He crossed the Line of Control and fired on them. I do not feel a hero can do this even in films. He is an amazing character. A living legend!
After doing this film, have you got a different meaning to being an Indian?
No. Since my birth itself I have acquired this meaning. I am a 100% Indian and a very very proud Indian. Whether in the sports field or in war I have always been an Indian! I had also been to Drass and thanks to Farooque Abdullahji I was able to spent time with soldiers over there, when shelling was going on overhead. So I am an Indian and a thoroughbred Indian and I always will be.
In what way are you going to shine out the other actors in this film?
Don't know about shining out, but the character I am playing is of an Army Captain who was instrumental in capturing one of the important peaks. He led a company for assault. He's very serious kind of character.
For such roles, do you think research is necessary from the actor's side or the unit's side?
From both sides, I think. Because ultimately it's a realistic film and a historic event based on the Kargil war. From the direction side, also a lot of research goes into it because ultimately you are recreating history. For me as an actor, I needed to know about the army lifestyle, how do juniors and seniors interact with each other, what are their codes. Under normal circumstances, a civilian's interaction with an army person is very limited. For me, I just wanted to be comfortable. I luckily had a captain friend of mine who was at that point of time posted in Bombay. So he made life, a lot easy. There were a couple of books also, out on Kargil. Basically it's the background search so that once you come on sets you are comfortable about the army aspect and you can just concentrate on your work.
Is it something like, an actor becomes more patriotic?
Patriotic in the sense, your eyes do open up, because though I was aware of the Kargil war but I wasn't exactly aware as to what exactly went into it. So when I was preparing myself for LOC, there were many books and a good stock on the internet that made me realize about the many selfless people in the world who don't bother for their lives, who think about their fellow soldiers on how to lead them. In the end, they go out and do what is expected from them, which was tremendous. It really opens your eyes and gives you perspective in life that at the end of the day what matters is integrity. It was a great learning experience.
What prompted you to do LOC?
The reason I have done LOC is J.P.Dutta and also because he's made a film that's tribute to the martyrs of Kargil. It's wonderful to know that I am part of the million in the crowd.
How difficult was it getting into the role?
Actually it's a real life character. She plays the fiancée of Lieutenant Anuj Nayyar played by Saif Ali Khan and it's the first time I get to play a real life character. I don't think its possible to go through exactly what they felt but I have tried my level best. And Mr. J.P.Dutta has really helped us portray the character as real as possible.
Have you learned anything about the Kargil war, after working on this film?
I would learn that after watching the film because I have not seen the film yet. J.P.saab dikhate hi nahi hai film.
What was it like working with such a great starcast?
It was very interesting. When you work with an experienced director like J.P.Dutta and seasoned actors you get to learn a lot. We went twice to Ladakh. And with 50 percent oxygen, it was difficult to shoot but we got along very well.
What was the best part about LOC?
There are many things. Doing a war film itself made me feel as if I am doing something towards my motherland. It was a patriotic feel! We used real bullets and weapons and you don't get to experience things like these very often.
Which is your favorite song from the film?
My favorite song is the title song “Sipahi Sipahi”
What's the best part about the music of this film?
Well, music is very good. It's got lot of depth, lot of variety. Considering it's a war film we couldn't experiment much with the music. But still I feel it's a step ahead of Border!
What's the name of your character?
I am playing major Rajesh and he is the youngest character of the cast.
Tell us about your role in the film?
We are supposedly playing real life heroes. I am playing major Vikas Vora, who fought the Kargil war. It's a privilege for me to play a real life hero.
How was it working with the huge cast?
It was beautiful. Everybody was together and it was a perfect teamwork. It was awesome… fantastic working in a war film based on a true story. The world will know it and hope people like it. There is no way of them not liking it, I can say.
Which is your favorite song from the film?
The title song is my favorite song that stars all the females because it portrays their wants and wait for the heroes who are fighting in Kargil. It's a true story with an epic starcast so hope everybody likes it.
How was the whole experience working with all these big stars?
Very scary! But luckily I was shooting in a small battalion with Ajay, Mukesh Tiwari and Sudesh Berry.
What do you think is the best part of LOC?
I can't choose any part of the movie as such. The whole movie is excellent and I don't think it can be ever made again. The reason I did this movie first of all was obviously J.P. sahab, second from an actor's point of view a small contribution from my part for such a film was enough to do this film. I can't point out any one particular incident in the film that is extra special. The whole movie is special.
Which is your favorite song from the film?
My favorite song is “Suno Janewalo”
What do you think about the music of the film?
I think it's excellent and if you ask me, personally I feel that it will overtake Border.
What type of music have you composed to put life in the proceedings of LOC?
When JPsaab told me that 99 soldiers were shot in their eyes and around 635 soldiers lost their lives in the war, then the audio of the film had to be composed, getting out of the commercialization of music. I just tried to visualize the trauma and pain of these families. I had done Border and Refugee. And now when JPsaab wanted to recreate LOC Kargil, which happened just 4 years back, it was something of an experience. The music of LOC is a reality check. We have developed a strange habit. If an issue emerges, we just read about it and forget. The world is moving fast. But I salute J.P.Dutta for pointing out to the world that LOC Kargil happened and we didn't cross the Line of Control. And when I was given the brief of music, I thought that I should bring in such melodies that when someone listens to the music, they should get the real essence of LOC. Like when JPsaab heard the song that is currently being aired on the promos (Seemayien Bulayien Tujhe), he instantly commented “This is my song”. The music I have composed for LOC comes right from my heart.
The film has a 13-minute song. So how did that happen?
We had not planned the song to be 13 minutes long, to break some record! When Javed and JP saab explained the situation that the final onslaught of war is going to begin, I liked the lyrics and started there itself. Then he explained that the song was to be picturized on all the characters. Javed saab started writing and I started composing. There was no end until we realized that the song had turned out 13 and a half-minute long. All my singers have sung the song beautifully.