1971 War movie ‘Pippa’ brings a forgotten tank battle to life
New Delhi : On the 50th anniversary of Pakistan’s surrender to India bringing the 1971 War officially to an end, the makers ‘Pippa’, starring Ishan Khattar and Mrunal Thakur, announced that the film based on the story of a battle that predated the War will be released on December 9, 2022.’Pippa’ recounts the amphibious tank battle that was fought on November 21, 1971, by the C Squadron 45 Cavalry of the Indian Army. Equipped with PT-76 tanks made in the Soviet Union, the C Squadron literally swam across the River Kabodak, near the Boyra salient (now in Bangladesh), to counter the threat from the then East Pakistani army commanded by Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, the officer who eventually signed the Instrument of Surrender on December 16. 1971.On November 21, 1971, the two warring armies clashed in a tank-versus-tank battle at Garibpur. In one fell swoop, Pakistan’s 3 (Independent) Armoured Squadron, consisting of 14 American M-24 Chaffee tanks, was completely destroyed, and so were two of the enemy’s infantry battalions.
The battle may have been forgotten, had Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta not penned a personal account of it in his book, ‘The Burning Chaffees’. Brigadier Mehta, who is played by Khattar in the film, which is based on his book, was commissioned in 45 Cavalry on December 15, 1966, and the Battle of Garibpur was the first where he saw armed action.After he took premature retirement in 1998, Brigadier Mehta, who raised the 13 Armoured Regiment in 1984, served the Government of Gujarat and also as vice-chancellor of universities in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. He’s also a big proponent of Transcendental Meditation.Team ‘Pippa’ has put out captivating stills from the upcoming war drama to honour the heroes of the 1971 War. In the stills, Ishaan can be seen commandeering an amphibious tank named ‘Pippa’ (a term of endearment for the PT-76).The film is being filmed in Amritsar, West Bengal, Ahmednagar in Maharashtra and Mumbai.Produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur, and directed by Raja Krishna Menon, the film’s star cast also includes Priyanshu Painyuli and Soni Razdan.
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