What: Biographical movie on Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena - Indian Air Force (IAF) officer
The Story of Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl
Born in Lucknow into an Army family, Young Gunjan (Riva Arora) daughter of Lt Col Anup Saxena (Pankaj Tripathi) dreams of flying a plane. Her brother Anshuman (Aryan Arora) and mother Kirti Saxena (Ayesha Raza Mishra) are least bothered. Gunjan (Janhvi Kapoor) grows up with the dream to fly an aircraft one day. Gunjan’s father is the strongest pillar of support. However, brother now an army officer Anshuman Saxena (Angad Bedi) still carries that cliché male dominant approach and believes that a ‘girl’ should be kept protected and ‘skies’ are not for her. Army needs bravery, courage, strength and Gunjan – a girl is not fit for such task. However, Gunjan with the support of her father and her sheer determination makes it to the group of 25 women who joined the IAF in 1994. Rest is how Gunjan fights the male dominant mindset and becomes the only woman in the Indian Armed Forces who served in the Kargil War. Flying the HAL Cheetah as part of operations Operation Vijay during the Kargil War.
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl movie review
A movie on the pride of India – the Shaurya Chakra awardee Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is undoubtedly a story that needs to be told.
Writer – director Sharan Sharma along with his co-writer Nikhil Mehrotra churn a feel good fairy-tale on-screen adaptation of the incredibly inspiring real story of Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena for screen. No harm if it works and the good news is it works and works well. Yes, it’s ironic that a movie on an incredible Indian woman who broke barriers, defied norms follows the tested trusted palette of filmmaking which is primarily feel good/coming of age. It begins with a young Gunjan (Riva Arora) begging her brother for a view of sky from a window inside a flight. Obviously, her brother Anshuman (Aryan Arora) is least bothered and takes a nap. The meta of the prevailing prejudice mindset and gender bias in the world outside is represented by brother (Angad Bedi) and mother (Ayesha Raza Mishra).
Sharan Sharma smoothly narrates the story and manages to bring some stand out moments between Gunjan and her father (Pankaj Tripathi). The father daughter bond over here is enlightening and enriching. The real drama unfolds at the training camp in Udhampur where Gunjan faces the ‘real’ test of gender bias and is pushed aside. Flight commander Dileep Singh (Vineet Kumar Singh) believes that bravery, valour and strength are predominantly an in-built quality in males and females are weak not proper to serve the motherland adds good strength to the drama and serves the purpose. The training scenes are moving and very effective in portraying the pain, aghast and the bias.
The climax fills your heart with pride for both mother India and Gunjan.
Janhvi Kapoor gets a big responsibility to portray a living legend a real-life hero and she shows improvement as an actress from her previous movie. Her moments with her father, at the camp and during the climax are the highlights of her engaging performance.
Pankaj Tripathi as the father is class apart. Playing the daddy every child especially every girl child wants.
Aangad Bedi as the brother has his moments.
Vineet Kumar Singh as Flight commander Dileep Singh is just terrific.
Good support comes from Aryan Arora (young Anshuman), Riva Arora (young Gunjan) and Ayesha Raza Mishra as the mother.
Special mention for Manav Vij is a must.
The pride of India –Shaurya Chakra awardee Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena reportedly carried more than forty missions and it would have turned exceptional if a couple of more missions were also shown to us. Some back story of brother Aangad Bedi would have added extra layers. The present scenario regarding women at IAF should have been shown. Gunjan Saxena is a human but the biopic omits her flaws as a person.
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is a movie made with more heart and less art but its inspiring enough to male you salute the sheer determination of Gunjan, the unparallel support by her father that defies the gender bias and celebrates humanity, equality, bravery with a bow to mother India – all these in due course.