Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl Review - A largely impressive tale of a womans win amidst male domation.
Sadhvika. S -
The film is about Indian Air Force pilot Gunjan Saxena, the first female and Indian woman airforce pilot in combat along with Srividya Rajan. The movie is the inspiring tale of a simple girl who went to remarkable lengths to achieve her dreams.
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Format: Original Film Platform: Netflix Movie Rated: 13+ Genre: Action, Drama Language: Hindi Digital Premiere Date: 12 August 2020
Directed by Sharan Sharma, Gunjan Saxena is a direct OTT release which shows the life of the first Indian female airforce pilot in combat. The film will be released on Netflix, on the 12th of August,
What’s the story about?
Gunjan Saxena is based on the true story of the first Indian female pilot, portrayed by Janhvi Kapoor who went to war, participating in the Kargil battle along with loads of other male soldiers. The film throws light on the various incidents that she comes across in her journey to become the fighter pilot going through tough situations facing humiliation, emotional challenges and male domination on her path.
During her childhood, Gunjan Saxena acquired the dream of wanting to be a pilot. She was always a determined hard worker who strived hard to achieve her goals, academically too. Even though her mother (Ayesha Raza Mishra) and elder brother (Angad Bedi) always oppose her dream of becoming a pilot, ultimately an Air Force Officer, her father (Pankaj Tripathi), always stands by her side, motivating her and supporting her in all ways possible. Gunjan however, is unable to join a pilot training institute due to financial constraints in the family. This instance brings up the path of how Gunjan Saxena became an Indian Air Force Officer. During this journey, the film shows the struggles and hardships women have to face in a male-dominated world to shine and succeed. The humiliation, embarrassment, emotional battles and the world of bias are beautifully depicted in the film.
Gunjan Saxena gets its facts right in being a biopic that does not try to just sugarcoat the person in the picture. The film offers a bullet point strategy in registering all the events that took place in Gunjan’s career showing us a completely different space with elements that we haven’t seen even up in Hollywood. Director Sharan Sharma uses a fine balance of emotional and goosebump-inducing moments to tell his story and also done sufficient research in the field that he is portraying on screen. Gunjan Saxena does dip a little in the middle where it tries to squeeze more out of its emotional core, but it is tough to deny the fact that the film is nothing short of perfect when it comes to the important high moments which stick like glue on the mind of the viewer.
Even though such a genre is a new leap for Janhvi Kapoor, she did come out as a misfit for the role. The character needed to be more fierce and confident, which seemed to be a bummer in Janhvi’s court. However, in a film which has its lead as a woman, all the other four male characters shine bright. Pankaj Tripathi steals the show by giving us extreme father-goals moments. Tripathi impresses all through the movie with his emotional, but firm fatherly attitude. Vineet Kumar also excels with his performance as a senior Indian Air Force officer, completely doing justice to the role. The other two characters in Angad Bedi and Manav Vij have short but punchy roles that add weight to the entirety of the film.
Music and Other Departments
Amit Trivedi mesmerizes with the songs in Gunjan Saxena, especially with Rekha Rekha and Bhaarat ki Beti. The cinematography of the different locations in the film was carried out beautifully. The effects in the bomb blasts sequences and the warzone could have been better.
The movie keeps you going throughout with minimum lulls. The emotional connect that develops with the runtime of the film had me smiling in many places. Gunjan Saxena also sparks patriotism in us, while also giving light to women empowerment.
Janhvi Kapoor’s cardboard-like performance remains as the major drawback in the film, any other actress in her league, would have suited the film all the more. The Kargil episode which is highlighted in the title of the film did not live up to its fullest potential.
Did I enjoy it?
Although certain glitches appear during the second half of the film, overall, Gunjan Saxena is going to remain as one of the movies that I enjoyed as a direct OTT release during this pandemic, because of the warm, heartening father-daughter duo and the feeling of a woman’s win.
Would I recommend it?
Yes. Gunjan Saxena is definitely worth your time and is an assured filmmaking debut by Sharan Sharma.