Most people know that Gunjan Saxena was the first-ever woman IAF pilot. She along with Flight Lieutenant Srividya Rajan rescued soldiers during the Kargil War in 1999.
The trailer of the film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl dropped and Jahnvi Kapoor will be seen playing the role of the pilot. Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar while sharing the trailer congratulated the 'real' Gunjan Saxena and the tea behind the film.
Ahead of the release of the film, here are some facts you probably didn't know about the 'real' Gunjan Saxena.
Gunjan Hails From a Family that Served in the Army
Gunjan Saxena's family has been serving in the Indian Army for yaers. Her father and brother were in the Indian Army and she too, took inspiration from them and followed suit.
Saxena's a Graduate from Delhi University
Gunjan Saxena completed her graduation from Hansraj College in Delhi and then went on to take the SSB entrance exam. She cleared the exam and joined the Indian Air Force in the year 1994.
Initial Discrimination Didn't Faze Her
Gunjan moved to Srinagar Air Field after joining IAF. She was the only woman pilot among the male-dominated group of officers. Her entry in the academy made many uncomfortable and she was the subject of harsh discrimination.
Gunjan's Chopper Almost Missed the Enemy Missile and Crashed
In 1999, when the Kargil conflict was on the rise, she was asked if she had any issues. She refused and continued to fly. Gunjan was one of the pilots who flew over the Kargil–Tololing–Batalik area and surveyed it to report any activity. When casualties were reported, Gunjan went for medical evacuations. Her chopper almost missed crashing when an enemy missile hit it. Despite that, she continued with her duty. She landed on the helipad and waited for injured soldiers to be carried to her chopper and successfully rescued them.
“I think it is the ultimate feeling that you can ever have as a helicopter pilot. That was one of our main roles there - casualty evacuation. I would say it’s a very satisfying feeling when you save a life because that is what you’re there for.”Gunjan Saxena
In the 90s though Gunjan Saxena served as a short service commissioned officer but today women in the air force have a permanent commission.
(Clarification: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Gunjan Saxena was a Shaurya Chakra Awardee. The error is regretted. You can read The Quint’s fact check here: Gunjan Saxena Isn’t a Shaurya Chakra Awardee, Nor Did She Claim So)