Gunjan Saxena, the heroic lady who flew during the Kargil war, inspired many young souls to fight for their dreams. Recently, many of us were extremely excited as her biopic was recently released on NETFLIX.
But the movie stirred a lot of controversy regarding the unsupportive portrayal of the Indian Air Force. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has written a letter to the Censor Board objecting to its “undue negative” portrayal in the movie “Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl”.
Finally, Gunjan Saxena has opened up about the controversy. She shared how she was always supported by her fellows and commanding officers contrary to what’s shown in the film. In her interview with IANS, Gunjan said,
“Indian Air Force is at the core and the heart of this film. It is the very training of the Indian Air Force and the strong ethos of the Indian Air Force, which really gave me the courage to do all those extraordinary things that I could (sic).”
The former pilot further added:
“Yes, as a commercial movie or as a work of fiction, this film has creatively tried to capture my story or my journey. But what cannot be denied is that even in this film the doors did open and opportunities were given. During my initial days in the Indian Air Force, I had the support of my fellow officers, my supervisors and commanding officers who helped me during the difficult times or when I was caught in a difficult situation (sic),”
Focusing on how there has been an incredible increase in the number of women officers in the Indian Air Force over the last few years, Gunjan said,
“We don’t need any other or bigger proof than the fact that over the last 20 years the number of women officers in the Indian Air Force has gone up at such a high rate. So, this shows that the Indian Air Force, which is such a deeply respected institution, has been so progressive and positive about bringing about this change in itself (sic).”
Talking about equal opportunities for women in the force, the former IAF pilot said,
“I think I was always lucky to have people around me who supported me and who rooted for me. Be it my family or the Indian Air Force at both places, I got support to pursue my dream and it’s a privilege. If you are the first one to be doing something, along with the privilege comes a whole lot of responsibility (sic).”
In a separate letter, published on Outlook, Retired Wing Commander Namrita Chandi wrote an open letter criticizing the film’s portrayal of the IAF. In her letter, Namrita wrote,
This rebuttal to “Gunjan Saxena, The Kargil Girl”, has as little to do with Gunjan, as has the film.
This has more to do with the house of Dharma Productions and of all those penny dreadful story and screenplay writers, who contributed to this monstrous film that has shown us all in the proud blue uniform in very poor light.
She further added:
I have myself served as a helicopter pilot and I have never faced the kind of abuse and maltreatment as was portrayed in the movie. In fact, men in uniform are true gentlemen and professionals. They go out of their way to make lady officers comfortable and adjust. Yes, initially there were teething troubles like no changing rooms or exclusive ladies toilets; yet the men made space for us. Sometimes, my brother officers stood guard outside the curtain while I changed. Never in my entire career span of 15 years have I been disrespected or mistreated.
At IFORHER, we are proud of Gunjan Saxena as well as our Indian Air Force. In the given circumstances, it is heartbreaking how Bollywood’s careless depiction of Gunjan Saxena and her achievements caused so many controversies.
It’s not because of the movie but her actual achievements, that we are proud of Gunjan Saxena!