Director Sharan Sharma makes a biopic in the form of a fitting tribute to not only a person but valour of defence personnel
This is exactly how a biopic should be made. Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is not just a story. It’s an emotion. The journey that a middle class girl of an army family goes through has been shown incredibly. Mind you, this is not just a story to give you goosebumps and an adrenaline rush. It transcends boundaries. If you thought Janhvi Kapoor couldn’t act, think again.
Watch the trailer here:
The story is based on the life of Indian Air Force pilot Gunjan Saxena (Janhvi Kapoor), the first female pilot in combat.
Written by Nikhil Mehrotra and Sharan Sharma, the story is detailed, layered, and treated in a way that is engaging and thrilling. Kudos to the writers for making this film about everything that the woman Gunjan Saxena stands for in life.
Starting off with a dream of becoming a pilot as a child to battling the conventionally unconventional odds at her base later on in life, the film covers a lifetime. What is important is the phase of her life where she is to struggle with not just her male peers but also her own mind and thoughts. This phase, in the screenplay, has been given much weightage and rightly so, forms the crux of the film.
Noting the graph of the narrative, the initial part of the film is dedicated to making the girl a pilot. That too, not necessarily in the armed forces. But when she does become one, you realise that the struggles hitherto were just as the tip of an iceberg and that’s when the film yet again sucks you in with its intelligent execution.
Male domination, sexism, stereotypes, what men think of women, why they can’t see them rise- are all being touched upon in a flair, something that you can only admire. Whenever all these notions play on screen, they never seem overdone or plastic. They seem natural. They come naturally to the characters. The consequences are natural.
Credits should be given to the writers for not making any character an outright antagonist. The conflicts in the film however are the harsh realities competing against the dreams and ambitions of oneself. People who stand against Gunjan Saxena are not the villains, but mere rational people programmed to think in a certain way. The fight to finish hence becomes all the way more exciting.
The girls would see themselves in the character. Infact, irrespective of the gender, you’ll see yourself in the shoes of the protagonist where she will indirectly ask you to step up.
Janhvi Kapoor is outstanding. The character’s innocence, her vulnerabilities, her inhibitions, her fears, her apprehensions are all portrayed by Kapoor in an effortless manner. Not only does she suit in the avatar, she also makes sure she never comes across as forced. Her expressions rightly suit each and every mood exhibited- be it a happy one or sad or tensed. The fact that she makes you relate to her is a feat in itself.
Pankaj Tripathi, a genius makes you respect him even more. Not only does his character play an integral part in Gunjan Saxena’s life, but Tripathi makes sure he lifts the narrative up manifolds. The way he conveys particular emotions with just the movement of his eyes, you realise once again that he is a legend.
Angad Bedi has a say in the plot, a practical approach and he gives you angles to think. He is very good as Gunjan’s brother, an army man himself. His character is also a reality check of sorts. Vineet Kumar Singh has a special appearance and he, like all his previous outings proves his mettle impeccably. He is just so good that every time he comes on screen, you know for sure that the plot will gain momentum.
Manav Vij is also one character in the film that you’ll fall in love with. The genuineness wrapped in strictness is what you adore him for. Ayesh Raza has a character that’s very real. You would find mothers like her in your homes and that’s where she wins you over.
Music by Amit Trivedi binds the film beautifully. The presence of songs convey the moods very nicely. Background score John Stewart Eduri is one of the most wonderful things of the film. You feel attached to the film in the first two mins only through the gripping score, which is continued well across the film.
Manush Nandan’s cinematography is very good to say the least. While it transports you to Kargil when the choppers fly, it keeps you grounded and rooted to realism otherwise in the narrative. Production design by Aditya Kanwar is also one highlight of the film. The manner in which the sets are created are cinematic yet real.
Editing by Nitin Baid is sharp, crisp, tight, and meaningful. This film can only be watched to understand how scenes should progress. Ample breathers at sufficient time intervals incorporating action, humour, drama in equal proportions has been achieved only through editing.
This is a film much more than just a biopic. Better late than never, India deserved to see the story of the first female pilot in combat. A must watch film for the flavour, for the feel, for the inspiration, for the right sensibilities, and yes for belief in your dreams.