After Abhishek, has Suniel also left JP Dutta’s Paltan?


Has Suniel Shetty also backed out of JP Dutta’s Paltan which the filmmaker grandly announced in July by releasing a poster on Twitter? It looks like. And efforts to get a confirmation or denial from Bollywood’s original muscleman have met with a strong silence from Suniel. If this news is true, then Suniel is the second actor to drop out of Dutta’s ambitious historical project. The first was Abhishek Bachchan who sensationally walked out for unexplained reasons the day before he was to fly to Ladakh with the Paltan unit for the shoot.

Suniel’s silence is ominous because the actor and filmmaker go back years and have made quite a few films together. Starting with Border, which Dutta made in 1977 as one of Bollywood’s first big multi-starrers, they have worked on Refugee (2000), LOC Kargil (2003) and Umrao Jaan (2006). Bollywood sources were excited at the announcement of Paltan because it was 11 years since Dutta and Suniel had collaborated.

And now comes the surprising rumour that Suniel will no longer be a part of this film. According to a source working on Paltan, Dutta and his team are in the middle of their Ladakh shoot and this news has dampened their spirit. “Sunil had some reservations and was also unhappy with the script. This he expressed to the filmmaker. However, even before any changes could be made, the actor felt it best to back out,” the source said.

While Abhishek was replaced by Harshvardhan Rane, there is no indication as yet that Dutta is seeking an actor for the role he had earmarked for Suniel. Perhaps the filmmaker is waiting hopefully for Suniel to change his mind. The other members of the cast include Arjun Rampal, Pulkit Samrat, Siddhanth Kapoor, Sonu Sood, Gurmeet Chaudhary, Jimmy Shergill and Luv Sinha.

Dutta, who is getting back to direction after 11 years, said about Paltan in a statement, “It’s time to tell a new story, to tell another part of the history of our country and salute more real-life heroes! I present Paltan. A film and a subject very close to my heart and I’m extremely excited about it.”

Paltan is based on the Indo-China war which took place during 1960s. Buzz has it that Suniel, who returned on screen after three-and-a-half-years with A Gentleman in August, has reportedly signed a silent film and a children’s film in which he will be seen playing a school principal.