Home > Entertainment > Who is Gunjan Saxena, the real-life hero who inspired Janhvi Kapoor’s new film on Netflix?
Who is Gunjan Saxena, the real-life hero who inspired Janhvi Kapoor’s new film on Netflix?

Janhvi Kapoor‘s latest film, ‘Gunjan Saxena’, releases on Netflix today. Inspired from a real-life story; it’s based on one of India’s first female fighter pilots and a Kargil hero.

The biopic on one of India’s first female war heroes, ‘Gunjan Saxena’ is streaming on Netflix now. Starring Jahnvi Kapoor in the lead role, it also has Pankaj Tripathi and Angad Bedi as a part of the cast. Produced by Karan Johar and directed by Sharan Sharma, who’s worked on ‘Koffee with Karan’, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, and ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, the film traces the story of Saxena’s life–how she went from a young girl with a dream of joining the Indian Air Force to rescuing soldiers during the Kargil war of 1999.

The real story of Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

gunjan saxena
Janhvi Kapoor (R) with Gunjan Saxena (L)

At a time when pursuing a career was a fight for women on land, she went on to create history in the skies. Born to an army family, Saxena always knew that she wanted to join the Indian Air Force. This was cemented when at five years of age she saw the inside of a cockpit, thanks to a cousin in the IAF. Her father supported this dream, and the motivation led her to join the Delhi Flying Club after completing her graduation from Hansraj College, Delhi University. It was the 90s, and women as pilots in the IAF wasn’t a common occurrence. However, Saxena strived to create a space that hadn’t previously existed–and succeeded.

gunjan saxena played by Janhvi Kapoor

She was a part of the first batch of 25 female fighter pilots. It was during the 1999 Kargil War that her destiny was realised. The IAF reached out to Saxena and her colleague Srividya Rajan for a rescue operation, making the two India’s first female fighter pilots. Their operation was to evacuate Indian soldiers from territories close to Pakistan while flying the Cheetah helicopters. Needless to say, the operation was a successful one, making Gunjan Saxena the ‘Kargil Girl’ and a Shaurya Chakra awardee.

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

Few real-life stories are as or in this case more enthralling than the fiction we usually see on screen. And this story certainly falls in that category. This inspiring tale of courage and determination is one to watch for seldom do we come across such real-life heroes.

“This isn’t just a film for me- it’s a journey that’s taught me to believe in myself. A journey I can’t wait to share with you all. About a girl who set out to do something simple, follow her dreams,” Kapoor had previously mentioned in an Instagram post. She also shared a one-minute video montage that takes us through the life of the real Gunjan Saxena, with a voice-over narrative by Kapoor.

Initially set for a release in April 2020, the Janhvi Kapoor-starrer has taken the route of an OTT release like many other films, due to the pandemic and closure of theatres.

All images: Courtesy Production houses and Netflix

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