There are some biopics where the structure of the story might not impress you entirely, but a collective of some moving moments at regular intervals of time will keep you hooked on to the content, and eventually, the movie will become a memorable experience for you. Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, directed by Sharan Sharma which got a straight OTT release through Netflix is one such experience. You can clearly sense in which all places the creators might have dramatized the content and yet the movie becomes a very compelling experience because of the moving moments it created on screen.
Gunjan Saxena our central protagonist had the dream of becoming a pilot ever since she was shown that breathtaking view of the sky from the cockpit of an aircraft. When she passed her 10th, she made it clear to her family about her ambition. But the journey wasn’t smooth from thereon. The movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is basically showing us the struggle of a girl to become a respected IAF officer.
Biopics can take their own perspective and narrate a story. When you hear the title and do the basic research, you would know who Gunjan Saxena is. This could have easily been a story solely about the heroics of a girl on a battlefield and given the jingoistic overdose we are getting these days that would have been a really safe track for the makers. But instead, we are seeing a very personal struggle of this girl who just wanted to fly an aircraft. At one point she even confesses the fact that she isn’t that patriotic when compared to others and it is pretty much the love for flying that is making her take up this job. In another instance, she decides to leave her dreams midway and it was her father who asked her not to give up. This combination of fragility and ambition reduces the unreal feel in that character and as a human story that showed someone’s persistence, this kind of character development was effective.
There is a lack of excitement in the structuring of the script by Sharan Sharma and Nikhil Mehrotra. The typical Bollywood cheesiness is visible in sequences like Gunjan’s friend’s wedding and that sequence where she goes to a flying school after 10th, +2, and graduation. The movie in a way is also about the constant reminders Gunjan got from her father on not giving up on her dreams. And I would say it is the subtle beauty of such moments that adds an element of likability to this story. It’s your template moments of hard training, motivational speeches, and other stuff. But sometimes even the most predictable melodrama can give you some genuine Goosebumps. Sharan Sharma has managed to attain some level of authenticity in creating the mood of an army camp and also the Kargil war atmosphere. Manush Nandan’s cinematography helps the movie a lot in attaining the visual authenticity I mentioned. The edits are on the faster side, but it does slow down along with the struggles of the character. Amit Trivedi’s songs were blended into the narrative effectively.
Janhvi Kapoor as the struggling Gunjan Saxena delivers a convincing portrayal of that aspiring girl. And the script is such that, we are seeing an under-confident Gunjan for most of the run time. The confidence that was needed to see in the portrayal of the character was slightly missing from her performance. Even when she runs towards the helicopter to prove her worth in the war, we are not seeing that passion. Pankaj Tripathi as Gunjan’s father, who always showed immense faith in his daughter delivered a subtle and sensible performance. It is so interesting how his acting can shift from one emotion to another in the most minimal way. Vineet Kumar Singh was fine as Dileep Singh, the one person who just couldn’t see Gunjan as a potential pilot. Angad Bedi was convincing as the concerned brother who never knew he was a victim of patriarchy.
Like I already said, one can easily guess which all portions in the movie were dramatized for the sake of creating cinematic moments. But that doesn’t make Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl a dissatisfying experience. It works effectively as a human story that talks about gender inequality using the scripting patterns that we are familiar with. Clocking at 112 minutes, this is perhaps that stress-free feel-good biopic you won’t regret watching.
It works effectively as a human story that talks about gender inequality using the scripting patterns that we are familiar with.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended