Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl trailer: Janhvi Kapoor looks all set to scale new heights as Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena

First-time director Sharan Sharma’s film is based on unsung Kargil hero Gunjan Saxena, who along with Srividya Rajan, became India’s first women combat aviators

By Mayur Lookhar

The greatest war stories are not always about vanquishing the enemy or achieving martyrdom, but you ought to pay respect to those who risk their lives to save others. First-time director Sharan Sharma’s maiden film tells the story of one such hero – Gunjan Saxena, who is among India’s first women combat aviators – the other being Srividya Rajan.

As the title suggests, Sharma’s film is based on the heroics of Saxena. Produced by Zee Studios and Dharma Productions, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl [2020] is set to be released on Netflix on 12 August. Saxena has joined the Indian Air Force in 1994 and then in the Kargil war of 1999, she was called in for rescue operations, risking her life, to save lives of Indian soldiers.

If you are looking for a jingoistic battle, then perhaps Gunjan Saxena’s heroics may not appeal much to you, but isn’t it fascinating to know the backstory of one of India’s first women combat aviator?. Young Janhvi Kapoor scored a hit in her debut film Dhadak [2018], she then impressed in Ghost Stories [2020] playing the Keralite nurse, who has the misfortune of serving in an eerie household. Playing Gunjan Saxena though is perhaps her most challenging role. Netflix released the trailer today, and it must be said that Kapoor looks the part here. Don’t go by her diminutive frame, but Kapoor looks tough as nails to scale new heights in this inspiring tale of an unsung herp.

The early part of the film will go along standard lines of a girl/woman’s struggle to break into the Indian Air Force. But the real challenge lies in how she navigates her way through in a man’s world. We saw similar tropes in the Ekta Kapoor-produced web series The Test Case [2017-2018] where Nimrat Kaur aced the struggle of a woman in an army. As laymen, we’ve never had the pleasure of visiting army/navy/.air force base, and so its the armed services that is the best judge of life in their world. Do women face patriarchy in the armed services perhaps, we need to speak to a real woman Indian army/navy/air force officer to share their experience.

Based on the trailer, it appears Gunjan Saxena [Kapoor] is not easily welcome into the Indian Air Force by her superiors – played by Manav Vij and Vineet Kumar. Both men look impressive. On the personal front, it’s the father-daughter relationship that is likely provide for the endearing moments. Pankaj Tripathi is a versatile artiste who has excelled in paternal roles too. The early part of the trailer plays along standard lines, but once Saxena is pressed onto service, Janhvi Kapoor looks a picture of all joy, unfazed by the dangerous task. It’s Kapoor’s innocence, enthusiasm that is likely to lift this inspiring story.

Watch the trailer below

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