Gunjan Saxena

Is a very engaging and overwhelming story about a journey of an achiever ,an IAF officer ,a helicopter pilot, one of the first women to fly in a combat zone, and most importantly a woman who dreamt of flying high, and literally did !

Cast – Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Vineet Kumar Singh, Angad Bedi, Manav Vij

Director – Sharan Sharma

Plot

The story opens to show little Gunjan’s doe- eyed admiration turning to aspiration and then passion to fly as she grows up. Her strength comes from this wonderful relationship she shares with her father (Pankaj Tripathi) who never believed that daughters need to be brought up any different than sons. Despite vehement objections by her mother(Ayesha Raza Mishra), disapprovals by her army officer brother( Angad Bedi), societal pressure and mindset , she goes on to join IAF to accede to her passion to fly.

The film then chronicles her journey, her struggles with the misogynistic mindsets ,the infrastructural limitations ,many personal and gender based biases to prove her mettle and achieve her desired place and respect.

Analysis

I would first talk about the film purely from cinematic aspects and would like to go by their disclaimer that the film is a fictionalised and dramatized version of life events and they do not make any claim to the authenticity of the version represented.

This is Sharan Sharma’s directorial debut after having assisted films like Aye Dil hai Mushkil and Ye Jawani Hai Deewani. There’s no doubt that he had doled out a very engaging and entertaining film with a fair share of overwhelming and inspiring moments.

The first half shines, thanks to Pankaj Tripathi’s adorable presence and his chemistry with Janhvi, and it is full of smiles and lump in the throat moments.

The second half chronicles her struggles to find her footing in a male dominated world and we see her striving to get a levelled playing ground. Many aspects, wherein she fights the sexist mindset and craves for fair chances and acceptance, touch a chord. But some of them failed to rouse because of being too far-fetched. Her moments of doubt and rethink, her almost giving up and then roaring back with a resilience and grit provide for a realistic and human touch to her persona. The final chance that she gets to put all doubts to rest , getting to fly in the combat zone and the rousing accolades that she receives give some very overwhelming and most eyed moments.

Performances

Pankaj Tripathi adds shine to the film with his characteristic charm.There is so much tenderness, love and determination that he conveys as a soft spoken man and a supportive father.

Janhvi looks very real with a certain naivety and innocence about her. She does falter in some of the scenes where the gamut of emotions were perhaps too mixed and complex to portray as a woman and an IAF officer but overall it was something well tried and worth a praise.

Angad Bedi impressed in a small role .His expressions in all his scenes were worth focus. A complex jumble of possessiveness, over protectiveness, love and misogyny.

Manav Vij looked good and apt as the IAF senior.

About Vineet Singh, I don’t know if it was the portrayal of a difficult character or that I actually felt he wasn’t at his best.

I would like to see this film as a journey of a woman, her dreams and her realisation of those dreams ,fighting a certain mindset throughout and achieving something that is worth lot of respect.No taking that away from her.

On the fiction versus facts part, I believe that cinematic liberties taken could have been a little more limited and I am sure the journey would still have been that admirable and awe inspiring. I do not understand the concept of promoting the “biopic” aspect and at the same time adding a long disclaimer that waives away all claims to accuracy of events.

Recommendation

But keeping aside that controversy, purely from the cinematic point of view, it’s a film that engages you ,overwhelms you and inspires you.

Rating 7 on 10

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