Filmmaker Sriram Raghavan, who is set to direct a film on the life of youngest Param Vir Chakra recipient Arun Khetarpal, says it is the most challenging subject for him. The director who in August said that the cast of the film is yet to be finalised has zeroed in on Varun Dhawan. Yes! Varun will play a war hero and Param Veer Chakra recipient Arun Khetarpal. Confirming the same to a leading tabloid, Varun said playing a soldier was on his dream list and called this the 'most important' film of his career. For those unaware, Varun and Raghavan earlier worked together in Badlapur. Dinesh Vijan will be producing the biopic which is tentatively titled "Ekkis".
Varun in the same interview said that he was awed when he heard Khetarpal's story and when he met Arun's brother Mukesh, he was moved. He concluded by saying that the country will be proud when this story comes on the silver screen. "Dinesh offered me this film and when I heard it, I found it interesting. 'Ekkis' is a working title. We are set in 1970s. It is the story of two eras. We have finished the script and are doing a rewrite and all," Raghavan told PTI.
"We have enough people from military on board. These things you can't get it wrong one bit. When you are working on a real story it is your responsibility to get everything right and stay as true and authentic as possible. It is all the more challenging for me as it is not my zone, I am doing something else. But I liked the story so I am doing it," he added. Dinesh Vijay talking to a tabloid said that Arun Khetarpal was one of Poona Horse's most celebrated Lieutenants and he connected with the story of his and his father. Dinesh said it's a big responsibility to share Khetarpal's story correctly and make this biopic. He wants to show how a boy became a man, a shadow of his father.
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, PVC (14 October 1950 – 16 December 1971) born in Pune, Maharashtra, was an officer of the Indian Army and a posthumous recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration for valour in face of the enemy. He was killed in action in the Battle of Basantar in the Battlefield of Shakargarh during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
On 16 December 1971, the Squadron Commander of 'B' Squadron, the Poona Horse asked for reinforcement as the Pakistani Armour which was superior in strength, counter attacked at Jarpal, in the Shakargarh Sector. On hearing this transmission, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal who was in 'A' Squadron, voluntarily moved along with his troops, to assist the other squadron. En route, while crossing the Basantar river, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal and his troops came under fire from enemy strong points and RCL gun nests that were still holding out. Time was at a premium and as critical situation was developing in the 'B' Squadron sector, Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, threw caution to the winds and started attacking the impending enemy strong points by literally charging them, overrunning the defence works with his tanks and capturing the enemy infantry and weapon crew at pistol point. In commander of his troop was killed. Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal continued to attack relentlessly until all enemy opposition was overcome and he broke through towards the 'B' Squadron position, just in time to see the enemy tanks pulling back after their initial probing attack on this squadron. He was so carried away by the wild enthusiasm of battle and the impetus of his own headlong dash that he started chasing the withdrawing tanks and even managed to shoot and destroy one. Soon thereafter, the enemy reformed with a squadron of armour for a second attack and this time they selected the sector held by Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal and two other tanks as the points for their main effort. A fierce tank fight ensured ten enemy tanks were hit and destroyed of which Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was severely wounded. He was asked to abandon his tank but he realised that the enemy though badly decimated was continuing to advance in his sector of responsibility and if he abandoned his tank the enemy would break through, he gallantly fought on and destroyed another enemy tank. At this stage, his tank received a second hit which resulted in the death of this gallant officer.
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was dead but he had, by his intrepid valour saved the day; the enemy was denied the breakthrough he was so desperately seeking. Not one enemy tank got through.
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal had shown the best qualities of leadership, tenacity of purpose and the will to close in with the enemy. This was an act of courage and self-sacrifice far beyond the call of duty.
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