Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP and Siddharth Roy Kapur’s Roy Kapur Films joined forces to bring a tale of India’s valour onto the big screen with their production Pippa. Based on the book The Burning Chaffees by war veteran Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, this collaboration has Airlift director Raja Krishna Menon at its helm and will be headlined by Ishaan Khatter. The makers of the heroic tank battle film now finalize the rest of the lead cast that shall join Khatter.
The war drama will have Mrunal Thakur (of Super 30 fame) and Priyanshu Painyuli (best known for Extraction and Mirzapur Season 2) in the roles of Khatter’s reel siblings and Soni Razdan as their mother. Pippa is set to have Ishaan in the role of Brigadier Mehta, a veteran of the 45th Cavalry Tank Squadron who fought on the eastern front during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. With one of the biggest war films, Uri: The Surgical Strike, to his credit.
Producer Ronnie Screwvala says, “Pippa is a story that chronicles an Indian victory in 1971 through the eyes of the Mehta family and signing on fine actors to essay the members of this brave family was our foremost priority. I’m glad we have talented actors like Mrunal and Priyanshu on board, who along with Ishaan will spearhead this story of triumph that needs to be told.”
Siddharth Roy Kapur says, “We were looking for great actors who would complement each other to create a believable family unit, and with Mrunal, Priyanshu and Ms. Razdan on board to join Ishaan, I am happy that we have more than achieved what we set out to do with the casting.”
Director Raja Krishna Menon says, “With Mrunal and Priyanshu joining Ishaan, we have three of the most exciting young actors coming together. Personally, I’m very excited to work with such extraordinary young talent and look forward to the energy they bring to Pippa.”
In this heroic tank battle film, Ishaan is set to take on the role of war veteran Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta of the 45th Cavalry tank squadron who, along with his siblings, fought on the eastern front during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. It was with this battle, which took place in Garibpur, that India for the first time infiltrated and entered enemy land, thus leading to the liberation of our neighbour Bangladesh.
The film titled Pippa is written by Ravinder Randhawa, Tanmay Mohan, and Raja Krishna Menon. It is based on the book The Burning Chaffees, written by the Brigadier himself. The film’s unique title highlights the magnificent Russian amphibious war tank called the PT-76, popularly and lovingly known as “Pippa”, an empty ghee da dabba that smoothly floats on water.
In their Pippa, Balram and his tank squadron fought the riveting 48-hour-long Battle of Garibpur that laid the foundation for and influenced the outcome of the impending war in India’s favour. The film also portrays the coming-of-age of a young Mehta as well as of our nation, as both stepped up to prove themselves in a war for the liberation of another country. The battle paved the path for India’s triumph as Captain Mehta rose to the occasion and led his troops to victory.
In addition to the war-front bravado, thrilling military camaraderie, and majestic action sequences that will surely wow audiences, this story also explores the poignancy of a family displaced during wartime amidst the backdrop of the heart-wrenching refugee crisis that plagues our world even today. The key roles of Mehta’s elder brother and younger sister, who also bravely conducted themselves during the war, are in the process of being cast.
Pippa, produced by RSVP and Roy Kapur Films, will hit theatres late next year.