OTT Movie Review: Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl – A partially engaging drama

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Movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl
Star Cast Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad Bedi
Director Sharan Sharma
Producer Karan Johar - Zee Studios - Hiroo Yash Johar - Apoorva Mehta
Music John Stewart Eduri - Amit Trivedi
Run Time 1hr 52mins
Release 12th August, 2020

Starring Janhvi Kapoor in the titular role, Gunjan Saxena is now available for streaming on Netflix. The film is based on the life journey of Gunjan Saxena, the first female pilot in Indian Air Force. Here’s our review of the Sharan Sharma directorial.

Story: Gunjan Saxena (Janhvi Kapoor) aspires to become a pilot at a young age. But she is forced to take the hard path as the society feels there is no place for women in aviation services. However, Gunjan is fuelled by her inspiring father, Anup Saxena(Pankaj Tripathi) as she joins the Indian Air Force. She now has to come up against numerous discriminations and prejudice. The rest of the story unveils how Gunjan tackles all these challenges and turns one of most successful pilots in the Indian Air Force and later goes on to serve the country during Kargil War.

How about on-screen performances?

Janhvi Kapoor is good in the role of a young girl who dreams big and has to sustain numerous challenges in order to become the first ever female pilot in the Indian Air Force. Her portrayal of a fragile yet determined girl is impressive. She shoulders the film well.

Pankaj Tripathi is seen as the female lead’s father and he looks very mature and composed. Manav Vij as commanding officer Gautam Sinha gives a good performance.

How about off-screen talents?

Sharan Sharma is making his directorial debut with Gunjan Saxena and he gets the basics right. He handles the emotional sequences like a pro and gets the best of lead cast. However, he should have come up with a more gripping screenplay as the film loses momentum more often than not. The film touches the very much relevant topic of women empowerment and this aspect was put to great use. The troubles faced by a young girl in an army camp that almost exclusively suits men are portrayed in a believable manner.

Songs by Amit Trivedi are apt and they go with the narrative. John Stewart Eduri’s background score is decent. Manush Nandan’s cinematography is top notch and it elevates a few war-related sequences in the film.

What’s hot?

  • Janhvi Kapoor’s performance
  • Emotional connect
  • Women empowerment facet

What’s not?

  • Slow at times
  • Slow start
  • Bumpy narration
  • Abrupt ending

Verdict: Gunjan Saxena is a tale of the first female pilot in the Indian Air Force and it depicts her grit and determination. It has an adequate dose of emotions, but a bumpy narrative which takes a toll on the tempo does tamper the viewing experience. The film is simple and stays true to its theme. It only shows the journey of Gunjan Saxena and does not fully exhibit her services in the Kargil War, barring a single sequence in the climax. The ending looks rushed. Kargil war episodes involving Gunjan Saxena should have been included in order to round it all up.

Watch or not?

You can give this film a watch at the comfort of your home but with rather low expectations.

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