Gunjan Saxena: Film Review – Soars To New Heights

Passes with flying colors
90%Overall Score

Streaming now on Netflix

Gender inequality is not new but when a woman ignores the voices of patriarchy, stands her ground against all odds, paves the way for other women to soar to new heights and take the path never traveled before, she deserves to be known, recognized and honored. Officer Gunjan Saxena is one such woman who turned a male-dominated field on its head by not only becoming India’s first female Air Force pilot but also serving India during the Kargil War.

From the time she was a little girl, Gunjan had but one dream and that was to become a pilot. Her dream was quickly squashed by her older brother when he said, “Girls don’t become pilots, you can become an air hostess instead”. Fortunately for Gunjan (Janhvi Kapoor), she had a father who gave wings to her dream. As the movie progresses, we see harsh sexism play out as Gunjan gets selected to train to become an Air Force pilot. On one occasion, she has to use the men’s washroom as there are no washrooms for women at the Air Force training center. We see Gunjan fight to prove her worth because just her skills alone are just not enough.

She was created to soar

The world tried to put her down; even her own brother (Angad Bedi) did, but the one person that stood like a rock for Gunjan was her father, an ex-Army man played by Pankaj Tripathi. Their relationship is the backbone of this movie and it makes you wonder what our country would be like if more fathers fought for their daughters’ dreams. Tripathi plays his role so brilliantly, you can’t help but absolutely love him. Janhvi Kapoor is incredible in her role as Gunjan. Her performance is beautifully raw and you can’t help but be absolutely engrossed in the movie from start to finish.

Dare to dream big

Director Sharan Sharma who co-wrote the script with Nikhil Mehrotra made a wise call by not making the movie about the Kargil War but instead focused on Gunjan’s life, her upbringing, and her triumph of breaking free from the cage that women are expected to live in and fly. Gunjan paved the way for the 1625 women officers who are currently serving in the Indian Air Force.

Make time and watch Gunjan Saxena as soon as you can. It’s beautiful and deserves to be watched and appreciated by all. It will make you proud, it will make you smile and it will also make you shed a few tears.

Director: Sharan Sharma
Writers: Sharan Sharma, Nikhil Mehrotra
Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad Bedi
Language: Hindi
Streaming on: Netflix

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Alisha Fernandes: Writer. Musician. Dog lover.