Gunjan Saxena : The Kargil Girl
The premise of the film unravels two battles- one fought physically on the borders of India and Pakistan and the other being gender stereotypes. Gunjan, the female protagonist of the film is played by Janhvi Kapoor, who through the course of the film is shown to be soaring higher and higher, despite being encompassed by a patriarchal society and innumerable barriers.
‘Girls can’t be pilots’
This very statement made by her brother(Angad Bedi) makes the hardships that Gunjan faces because of gender, at her place of work and home, evident. It further makes her professional triumphs even more meaningful, as she comes out to be India’s first Female Air Force Officer to fly in a combat zone during the 1999 Kargil War. The film and Gunjan’s backbone, her father, played by Pankaj Tripathi exudes warmth and exuberance from his very first frame. He comes to the defense of his daughter, who is shunned down constantly by her visibly sexist brother.
The interesting part about Sharan Sharma’s debut film is that it doesn’t boast of one’s undying patriotism, like most other films these days but rather focuses on Gunjan’s back story, subtly highlighting her love for the country.
This Netflix Original despite having its plus points has become the center of an ongoing debate because of it’s incorrect portrayal.
Every scene in 'Gunjan Saxena — The Kargil Girl' that was laced with gender bias evoked sympathy from my daughters, wrote retired Army officer Captain Shikha Saxena.
It is true that women officers had to struggle to create a niche for themselves in a male dominated profession, however the portrayal in the film is far worse than reality, compelling people to feel a sense of pity for the women officers of our country. Not only that, the first IAF officer was not actually Gunjan Saxena but Sreevidya Rajan. Saxena, did in fact, inform the film makers about the same, but despite that Rajan seems to be ignored, without even a mention in the film.
“Creative freedom is permissible in a fictional story, but a biopic has to be done with more responsibility. The organisation, back in the day, was largely male-dominated. Gunjan and I fought tooth and nail to make our place. That said, in the last 20 years, thousands of women have signed up for the service and shone along the way.” - Sreevidya Rajan