What makes Gunjan Saxena a special woman? Is it the fact that she was the first female officer in the Indian Air Force, or that she was the only woman to be part of the Kargil War, or that she is the first female Shaurya Chakra awardee? As you can guess, it’s all of the above. IAF Officer Gunjan Saxena is a braveheart who evacuated over 900 troops during the Kargil War.
Written and directed by Sharan Sharma, “Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl” is the new Bollywood movie on Netflix and is inspired by the true story of Ms. Saxena. Gunjan (Janhvi Kapoor) is a simple girl from Lucknow with an innocent childhood dream to become a pilot one day. Her dream comes true when she joins the IAF but struggles to earn credibility and the respect of her seniors and peers who are all male. With limiting facilities such as lack of bathrooms and changing rooms for women, the Udhampur IAF station is not an ideal place for a woman. Gunjan almost gives up but fate has special plans for her. In the 1999 Kargil War, Gunjan goes on to become the only female officer. She fulfills her duty with immense courage and receives accolades and well-deserved recognition for it.
Janhvi Kapoor is seen in what is arguably her best performance yet. Portraying a celebrated IAF Officer is not an easy task and Kapoor does a good job imbibing Gunjan’s character and personality as her own.
But let’s not forget the one special force that shows Gunjan the path to achieve her dreams and always has her back – her father. Pankaj Tripathi plays Gunjan’s father, retired Colonel Anup Saxena and his performance was by far the best in the movie. With an endless list of major accomplishments including his award-winning roles in Stree and Mirzapur (Amazon Prime Video), Tripathi will steal your heart with his unmatched knack for delivering dialogues such as “Plane ladka udaye ya ladki, dono ko ‘pilot’ hi bolte hain” and “Jo log mehenat ka saath nahi chodte, kismat unka haath nahi chodti,” which are enough to motivate anyone to achieve their dreams. It would only be deserving for him to win an award for his role and performance in this movie.
Special shoutout to the casting team for bringing Riva Arora onboard to play young Gunjan. She has a strong resemblance to Janhvi Kapoor and also happens to be the girl who played Sridevi’s daughter in the movie “Mom.”
The movie shows us that despite all the struggles Gunjan Saxena faces for being short, overweight, weak, or even just for being a woman, she manages to fight her way through and break all glass ceilings to fulfill her dreams. Gunjan’s story is all the more inspiring for this reason as it teaches you that bravery cannot be measured by physical strength.
Consultant by day and professional dancer on weekends, Neha loves going to the movies and has a not-so-secret crush on Hrithik Roshan!