Ishaan Khatter will star in war film “Pippa,” produced by Indian industry veterans Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur. The film is to be directed by Raja Krishna Menon and will release towards the end of 2021.
Based on Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta’s book “The Burning Chaffees,” the film is set during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 that led to the formation of Bangladesh. Khatter plays Mehta and the titular “Pippa” is an affectionate name for a Russian-made amphibious war tank that played a prominent role in the proceedings.
Khatter debuted with Majid Majidi’s “Beyond the Clouds,” and is in Mira Nair’s adaptation of “A Suitable Boy” that is currently airing on the BBC in the U.K. and Ireland and will later be on Netflix worldwide excluding China, Canada and the U.S. Khatter said he was “exhilarated” to be in a film of magnitude and importance, and to play the role of a suave and spirited tank commander.
Screwvala and Roy Kapur both previously served as heads of Disney India, before launching their own production companies. “Pippa” being produced by Screwvala’s RSVP and Roy Kapur’s Roy Kapur Films.
Screwvala produced 2019’s “Uri: The Surgical Strike,” that collected $48 million and is India’s highest grossing war film. Roy Kapur is currently producing a series adaptation of William Dalrymple’s colonialism book “The Anarchy.”
Menon previously directed “Airlift,” starring Akshay Kumar, and the Bollywood remake of “Chef,” starring Saif Ali Khan. “Pippa” is written by Ravinder Randhawa (“Hamid”), Tanmay Mohan and Menon. “‘Pippa’ is a war film, but it also has an emotional core celebrating the triumph of love and humanity,” said Menon.
Screwvala said: “It’s not just about a great patriotic battle. The story of the 45th Squadron led by Captain Balram Mehta is one that needs to be told to this generation.” Roy Kapur said: “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.”