Munna on Gunjan Saxena : The Kargil Girl


I was avoiding Gunjan Saxena but Rajen asked me with his glowing review..I have lived almost most of my life in Air Force bases around in India, I knew my comment/review would be critical of Karan Johar style’s movie treatment..I understand, people who have not seen Air Force life, it is a decent time pass movie about women empowerment and gender bias.

commented elsewhere… and #7 was issue and acknowledged by other contemporary female pilots..but was corrected by Air Force…

I didn’t need to go to my Dad to ask if there is something wrong; Most of the Air Force situations are manufactured and incorrect for need to add flesh to script as there was not much story to tell..you have to manufacture situation around inspired event (First female pilot) and show high and lows.
The movie is made like Hallmark TV movie..That. is I cannot say it is bad but it is not good as well..It hovers in mediocrity for most part..There are some good scenes but mostly manipulative..Some sample:
1. the scene after 10th passing at house with all the guests and blurting out ambition in front of everyone.
2. What was brother (who was in Army) doing at Air Force ATC?
3. Even the much lauded Deskbhakht scene…In Air Force no one sheds blood in field..there is no chest thumping like Army.
4. Junior NCOs are shown hiding not to salute woman officer. Well, hospitals have female officers from AFMC Pune and you have to salute them when you enter their room for sick report.
5. Air Force is very English speaking by nature unlike Army especially among Commissioned officers. So all the hostel and Officer’s mess talk among junior officers was out of place.
6. Gunjan scenes with brother at house were most illogical. How many times you want to show same things.
7. Not changing room or toilet for female as if that base was not told about female officer coming. Things flow from top (Air Force Headquarters ) for such initiative (to have female in all male force)..

Jhanvi acts okay when she is vulnerable or quiet but when she has to be expressive, she is all over the place. Pankaj Tripathi is good in authored back role. Young Gunjan was very adorable and she looked very much like older Gunjan in movie.
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I am not suggesting you will not face problem in male dominated force but to suggest there was no recourse for corrective action in chain of command was painful at points.
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Based Shekhar Gupta’s review:

He literally tore apart the film! That leaving base felt was so out of IAF or any force culture and operating rules. I have lived almost 17 years (and next 6-7 year infrequently) on Air bases around India. Literally, the Air Force base is the cleanest place to live in any city. Roads are well marked, clean air, area generally very well maintained. Within those secure bases, the aircraft area is more secure and fenced. I have been only inside that secure areas not more than 5-6 times. I am not privy to these kind of (morning) briefings. But all the quarters, hospital, Mess are less secure area and you can go there. And my comment (above 7 points) was based on those observations.

Actually, I don’t have problem (women empowerment and gender bias) with theme of the movie but it was not shown correctly. There was not much to story but you need good writers to write good screenplay; hence my comment regarding Hallmark/Lifetime movie.

I think as Shekhar pointed real Gunjan probably was happy that a movie is made on her and probably didn’t object to some fictionalization or exaggeration in screenplay.

Having said that I am against banning or any cuts..let it be what it is in spite of Air Force Objections…

32 Responses to “Munna on Gunjan Saxena : The Kargil Girl”

  1. Great points Munna , and glad you shared your own experience and insight of the Airforce base.

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  2. Why Gunjan Saxena’s Great Theme Was Wasted
    By Lieutenant General SYED ATA HASNAIN (retd)

    https://www.rediff.com/movies/column/a-general-reviews-gunjan-saxena/20200817.htm

    His advice is virtual abetment to desertion, something which should have been known to the umpteen military advisers whose names appear in the credits at the beginning.

    As a soldier and senior officer, I can say with pride that some of the WOs I came across ensured by the dint of their sheer character and hard work that never did we have to think of shielding them in protected appointments.

    I came across a WO, who was constructing an operational track in the dangerous Lipa Valley and was initially horrified to know that she slept on the deck of the single bulldozer available there and lived like that for three months.

    The men were in awe of her personality and ability to lead by example.

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  3. Munna, thank you for saving couple hours of my life 🙂

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    • I don’t think it is bad….Many people have liked it (average to good) and I don’t blame them. It is just that I have lived very close in the environment depicted so my observations are going to be critical.

      As I said, My issue is not with subject but within the movie how it was tackled.

      ps – I am going to ask my daughter to see it.
      ps1 – There is no reason to dislike overarching theme and “Bharat ki Beti”…! But it is manipulative …

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      • I saw it with my daughters and was telling them about the controversy to them- their response – papa I can believe kee 90s mein aisa hota hoga !!

        Liked by 1 person

        • To sit together and watch, I have to go and check common sense media for review! Once I see there is nothing objectionable, we see movie together. Mostly, We end up watching doggy movie with our dog, who likes to bark at anything like him 🙂

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        • We were watching Malang together , and the younger one asks why Khemu can not become a dad, is he gay ?
          I told her to ask mom, her reply- I know mom would not know the answer, aap hee bata do !!

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      • ” It is just that I have lived very close in the environment depicted so my observations are going to be critical.”

        Munna, you are talking about IAF. Movie is about talking about people inside IAF. Both are different. As an organization, I’m sure there will be no difference in rules for male and female but the bias will surely be there. The bias was all over India and everywhere. Just because a male joins IAF, he will become purified version without any bias in his DNA.

        Even in the movie Gunjan doesn’t complain. There is never an official complaint. So, why you think she will complaint now or IAF will ask to prove the things. It can be never proven. But females bias was so much everywhere in 90’s and especially you are talking when its the first batch for females in IAF.

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        • “1. the scene after 10th passing at house with all the guests and blurting out ambition in front of everyone.

          I can go line by line to reply but just will reply the 1st one. It was an accident and she was just telling her brother after failing to tell her mom, her dad. When she was saying her bro, the music stops. She’s not telling it in front of “everyone” but rather it becomes a situation.

          Also, that’s cinematic treatment. So, you expect the scene to be.. come home happy with 94% and no party happening and then tell everyone in the living room. Does it matter to the story? No way. You are digging about treatment and also mis-reading it completely. She didn’t come and right away told infront of all guest she wants to become pilot.

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    • Also, Gunjan is a weak movie to support and I know it. But I can’t understand the incorrect reasons to bash the movie all over the web (not referring to Munna here). In that aspect, every Bollywood movie can be bashed. They can never get any organizations right ever. Was the National coach right in Dangal? Was he not shown the villain? He is also living person but they didn’t care for the story.

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      • Dangal took liberties with facts..like final was lopsided instead of close one . As you said, The coach was nothing like that. Elsewhere, someone complained about language not being authentic for Haryanavi. In end it has to do with how many people you are able to convince about your product.
        In this case, I was not convinced but many were!

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  4. Interesting inputs.

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  5. https://theprint.in/india/gunjan-saxenas-iaf-coursemate-sreevidya-rajan-shocked-by-filmmakers-twisting-of-facts/483413/

    Gunjan Saxena did not go to Kargil first
    In the movie, Gunjan Saxena was shown as the only woman pilot to fly in Kargil operations, and Rajan called it “factually incorrect”.

    “We were posted together to Udhampur and when the Kargil conflict started, I was the first woman pilot to be sent along with the male counterparts in the first detachment of our unit which was deployed at Srinagar,” Rajan said.

    Rajan flew missions in the conflict area even before Saxena’s arrival at Srinagar, she said.

    “After a few days of operation, Gunjan Saxena came to Srinagar with the next set of crew. We actively participated in all operations given to us which included casualty evacuation, supply drop, communication sorties, SAR (search and rescue),” she said.

    Another point where the film takes liberties with the facts is when it shows Saxena rescuing her flying instructor after his chopper was shot down by Pakistani invaders.

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    • Last night chatted with Dad, he doesn’t have Netflix. His comment was that everything is well regimented. The briefings happen early morning. There is a medical checkup.

      old footage with Wing Commander Abhinandan…The food is provided at base.

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  6. I did not know about Gunjan or Sreevidya until this movie released.

    One thing I felt about the father of Gunjan as showed in the film. I felt that the father was more adamant about Gunjan’s future as a pilot than Gunjan herself though he was not as harsh as that father in Dangal. When Gunjan came back disheartened and decided to settle down, he almost coerced her into going back than allowing her space to think for herself. Sort of parental pressure on their kids to achieve. Sometimes it backfires. Many engineering and medical students attempt suicide when parents dont want them to discontinue.

    There are deserters too who cant stand the rigorous discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Shekhar Gupta is spot on in his review. Having lived in the army units & quarters myself for 17 years & observed the iaf closely, GS the movie is the sort of incomprehensible bunkum you’d expect from a Dharma film.

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  8. munna, some of the bulkier threads on satyamshot are slow to load. please look into it

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  9. Like

  10. Matlab Arnab ney Keh Key Ley Lee !!

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