Ever since I got to know about the making of Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, I knew this was one film that I wouldn’t miss out on. And I didn’t. Starring Janhvi Kapoor in the lead role, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl released today as a Netflix Original film. Kapoor plays the role of Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena, India’s first female Air Force pilot who was sent into the war zone during the 1999 Kargil War. She was, in fact, a part of the very first batch of women IAF trainees in 1994.
Dreams of a daughter pushed forward by her father
The story begins with a young Gunjan who decides to become a pilot. Her fascination begins after she is allowed into the cockpit of a commercial flight. The starry-eyed girl’s dreams are, of course, not taken seriously by anyone, because “ladkiyaan pilot nahi banti.” Her mother constantly approaches an astrologer with the hopes that she would soon get this “mad idea” out of her head. Her brother, an Indian Army officer played by Angad Bedi, on the other hand, repeatedly reminds her that the world isn’t as just as she expects it to be. If there’s one person who stands by her dreams at all times, it’s her father Lt Col Ashok Kumar Saxena, played by Pankaj Tripathi. Lt Col Saxena follows every path to help his daughter achieve her dreams of flying a plane – even if it meant joining the Indian Air Force.
‘Humaari zimmedaari hai iss desh ki raksha karna, tumhe baraabari ka mauka dena nahi’
The story doesn’t just show how a father supports his daughter. It, in fact, takes us on a journey of how gender bias impacts even the highest of orders. Being selected into the Indian Air Force was probably just a quarter of the battle won for Gunjan. Her biggest trial began when she faced the deep-rooted gender biases that stood as an obstacle in her path every day. Cancelled sorties, replaced briefings, and the “kahin yeh ‘Madam’ ek din ‘Sir’ naa ban jaaye” notions were only some of them. Gunjan, however, fights against all odds to show that it’s determination, and not muscle power, that makes one a great officer.
When her country needed her, Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena stepped up for over 40 missions during the Kargil War of 1999. She was a part of evacuation operations for more than 900 injured and dead troops during the war. She also became the first woman Shaurya Veer awardee.
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl – Final thoughts
Janhvi Kapoor truly shines through the film. Her expressions seem spot-on and actually make you feel her emotions. And can we please give Pankaj Tripathi an award already? As always, he makes you fall in love with his character. His role in the film makes you wish that every daughter had a father like him.
Was I weeping through the emotional scenes? YES! Did I love the film? Absolutely! I would call this film a must watch!
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