From whatever little I know and read about the real-life Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena (who was the sole women officer to have played a key role at the war front during the war of Kargil), it looks like the biopic on her is a dignified presentation staying true to her life.
Kargil valley in the year 1999 is from where the story begins. Gunjan Saxena, in an emergency, is called upon for casualty evacuation. Gradually we see the difficult journey of Gunju as she is lovingly called starting from her childhood days, how she began dreaming about becoming a pilot one day after she is given a chance to see the cockpit during a flight journey, the success she tastes and the struggles she faces in the process of becoming an IAF officer.
Though the backdrop is about a person who played a major role in Kargil war, war scenes and battle zones are used in a restricted manner without compromising on the subject. To be precise, we see such situations just in the beginning and towards the closing phase. The focus of the film is more on the protagonist, her emotional struggles due to her lack of confidence and how she overcome the odds in her profession by getting proper motivation at the right time.
In the process of narrating how the protagonist finally reach that self-satisfying phase of her life, the film strongly makes a statement towards gender inequality and also about women empowerment. The middle portions that unfold within Udhampur Air Force station as part of Gunjan’s professional life when she gets her flight training is where the conflicts in the story starts evolving.
There are no lackluster moments throughout the film. How it starts and how each and every sequence unwind one after the other leading to its highly charged up but expected ending has a steady flow. The film has some touching and adorable sequences that can shed tears and for me, the best and most impressive ones are when the girl shares moments with her father.
Gunjan is her daddy’s daughter as he is the one in the family who understands and supports her wholeheartedly in her pursuit of achieving what she wants to become. When she failed and got dejected, her father cites an example of actress Rekha from Bollywood to motivate her which was a lighthearted but memorable scene amidst the tensions. He says those who work hard and never give up in life are always rewarded with success in the end. Further, he remarks “Tab RekhaJi Kar sakthey hai, tho GunjanJi Kyo Nahi Kar Sakthey” to inspire confidence in his daughter and uplift her spirits.
I was a little apprehensive if Jhanvi Kapoor would be able to do justice to the titular character who for a major part needed to look less confident. But believe me she has pulled off the role in a neat and charming manner. Though there weren’t any heavy lifting scenes involving the actress, still she has to get it done in the end with a major portion of the narrative focusing on her. Angad Bedi as brother of Gunjan, Vineeth Kumar Singh and Manav Vij as the senior air force officers were the notable actors on the supporting side. And for me Pankaj Tripathi as Gunjan’s father was the most impressive actor who was at total ease and in full control putting an effortless acting display.
Gunjan at one point opines Air Force wants people who are patriotic and love their country but she just wanted to become a pilot and in the process of making this dream a real question whether she was deceiving her country. The reply that her father gave made complete sense and it was conversations like these that give this film that extra mileage. Amit Trivedi‘s songs and John Stewart Eduri’s background score cannot be ignored acting as an icing on the cake.
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl Overall Review
Taking off in style and landing in a highly convincing fashion with the simplest of narration, Gunjan Saxena : The Kargil Girl is a loveable as well as a memorable film. With the right dose of inspiring moments and dialogues to boost confidence thereby acting as a motivational tonic, this biopic is an example of how a film can portray patriotism without any exaggerations. As an emotional drama, it is impactful as well as inspiring and makes a strong statement that gender is not a factor when it comes to achieving glory even if it is out of the most difficult and challenging situations. This is one film that I would have loved watching on a big screen.