Had Equal Opportunities to Perform at IAF: Gunjan Saxena

The IAF had written to Netflix and CBFC objecting to its 'negative portrayal' in the film.

2 min read
Janhvi Kapoor with IAF Pilot Gunjan Saxena

A day after the Indian Air Force (IAF) raised objection over its portrayal in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, former IAF pilot Gunjan Saxena, on whose life the film is based, has spoken about her experience in the force as compared to what has been portrayed in the film.

She said that she was always supported by her fellows and commanding officers. "Indian Air Force is at the core and the heart of this film. It is the very training of the Indian Air Force and the strong ethos of the Indian Air Force, which really gave me the courage to do all those extraordinary things that I could," said the former pilot.

On Wednesday, IAF, in a letter to Dharma Productions, Netflix and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), said that certain scenes and dialogues in the trailer and movie, which were given to it for viewing has portrayed the academy and its work culture "in an undue negative light."

"Yes, as a commercial movie or as a work of fiction, this film has creatively tried to capture my story or my journey. But what cannot be denied is that even in this film the doors did open and opportunities were given," added Saxena.

A still from Gunjan Saxena.
A still from Gunjan Saxena.
(Photo Courtesy: Netflix)

She said that she always had equal opportunities to perform and so is the case with the women officers today. "We don't need any other or bigger proof than the fact that over the last 20 years the number of women officers in the Indian Air Force has gone up at such a high rate. So, this shows that the Indian Air Force, which is such a deeply respected institution, has been so progressive and positive about bringing about this change in itself," she said.

"I think I was always lucky to have people around me who supported me and who rooted for me. Be it my family or the Indian Air Force at both places, I got support to pursue my dream and it's a privilege. If you are the first one to be doing something, along with the privilege comes a whole lot of responsibility," added the former IAF pilot.

"Whenever there is a major change happening in any organisation or any field for that matter, it is never easy. During my initial days in the Indian Air Force, I had the support of my fellow officers, my supervisors and commanding officers who helped me during the difficult times or when I was caught in a difficult situation."
Gunjan Saxena, Former IAF pilot

She added that though it took time for some individuals to change their mindset, it is important to focus on the fact that the change came through.

"At times when I sleep, I have dreams of being in the cockpit or flying a sortie," said Saxena, who feels the film is not just about her but also about "so many other extraordinary women".

(With inputs from IANS)

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