Movie: Gunjan Saxena the Kargil Girl
Director: Sharan Sharma
Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Manav Vij, Vineet Kumar Singh, Angad Bedi
Rating: 5.5/10 (pretty average out of which extra 1.5 for the storyline)
Gunjan Saxena release date: 12 August 2020 (Netflix)
Nepotism, the most in question word of nowadays among movie buffs & common people after the tragic demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput; which again comes into highlight with the Gunjan Saxena movie release, as the lead actor is Janhvi Kapoor produced by Karan Johar, Dharma Production.
Gunjan Saxena is an Indian Air Force (IAF) Pilot who fought 1999 Kargil war with great valour & won Shaurya Chakra. In that 90’s girls were not welcome in all professions especially in Defence Services. So in that way flight lieutenant Gunjan Saxena’s dream fulfilling story is a perfect motivational example for those girls who dream to fly to touch that sky. Here script writer Nikhil Malhotra (who was also co-script writer of blockbuster movie ‘Dangal’) & director Sharan Sharma choose to portray the journey not in a biopic way but in a sentimental father-daughter relationship way.
Lucknow girl Gunjan dreams to fly plane, become pilot since her childhood days. Her mother & brother discourage her in every stage pointing out its not the girl’s job but, her father who is a colonel in Indian Army, fully supports her to fly for her dream. She first tried to be pilot but course fees of the institution were beyond their permissible limits. Then she found an advertisement where Indian Air Force was opening doors first time for female candidates. She opted for that and from now on her actual fight starts; sometimes it is her medical disabilities, sometimes fellow colleague’s point of view towards female cadets. Her sortie cancelled frequently as no male co-pilot want to be with her in sky; she do not have separate female rest room, facing difficulty to change uniforms; in every way her colleagues, commanding officer pointing her out that IAF is not right the place for her. In family her mother & brother who is an Indian Army officer also pulling her back in every way. With her father’s support she overcomes all obstacles towards her goal. That is the motion of screenplay.
The film actually does focus on two things: one is father-daughter relationship & other is Gunjan’s survival in IAF. Here the film somehow depicting Armed Forces in such a negative way that passes wrong message to young female aspirants. On this ground IAF officially asks explanation to the production house. Although our former Army General Mr. Bipin Rawat said once that, female cadets cannot join infantry division & writers may defend with creative liberty, but the IAF’s present stand is very logical indeed & supportive to our constitutional rights also. The real fact is that female cadets are serving Indian Air force, Indian Navy & Indian Army very efficiently & armed forces never discriminate.
In the film Gunjan was trying to pursue pilot training programme once after her 10th exam, again after 12th exam & every time she comes to know that rules have changed. This is not practical because in real life the aspirants for any course generally gather all necessary information before go for it. The film does focus only on her Kargil mission but not her any other mission though those are mentioned in after credit line. The dialogue where Gunjan says “main plane chalana chati hoon is liye air force join kiya; mujhme desprem ki koi baat nahi. Kya yeah desh ke saath gaddari to nahi?” And her father’s reply “pyar se, imandari se apna kaam karna hi deshprem he. Air force ko Bharat mata ki jai bolke chillane wale nahi chahiye” is unnecessarily pulling attention to recent political activities. The proud moments in the film you can feel as you are aware of the valour of real Gunjan Saxena not for the acting of Janhvi Kapoor.
In script, Janhvi Kapoor had all the moments, emotions to portray real Gunjan in a convincing way but she fails. The body language, dialogue delivery, facial expressions are the props of actors to convince viewers with the character he/she plays. Considering that new comer Janhvi is yet to reach that stage of acting, her expressions are even not that mature to do minimum justice with the character. Thats why nepotism issue arises. Pankaj Tripathi is outstanding as expected. He played father’s character in other movies very convincingly also but here he is holding high by delivering the exact flavour of the character. Manav Vij & Vineet Kumar Singh are excellent. In their dual scenes with Janhvi her slip ups can be senses more. Angad Vedi in his feudal role had nothing much to deliver.
Keeping in mind the real Gunjan Saxena for her great dream, courage, valour & inspirational fight back legacy, the film is a must watch.