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A day after the Indian Air Force wrote a letter against Netflix movie ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ for the “undue negative” portrayal of its work culture in the movie, the real life Gunjan Saxena has come forward and opened up about her experiences serving in the Indian Air Force as compared to what has been depicted in the film. Gunjan said that her superiors, colleagues and commanding officers all supported her in the Air Force.
The growing rate of women officers in the IAF is a testament to its strong values and ethos: Gunjan Saxena
Speaking to IANS, Saxena extolled the culture at the Indian Air Force, saying that it was the training and the strong ethos of the Indian Air Force which provided her with the courage to do all the extraordinarily courageous accomplishments she is associated with. She also added that it was just her, all the women officers from all branches of the Indian Armed Forces who have served or are still serving in the organisation are driven by the strong values and rich cultural ethos of the Air Force.
“Yes, as a commercial movie or as a work of fiction, the film has tried to capture my story. But what is beyond any doubt is that doors were opened and opportunities were given and that is also shown in the movie,” Saxena said, who cleared her entrance exam and joined the Indian Air Force in 1994.
Saxena says that there were no impartiality observed at the Indian Air Force and equal opportunities were granted to her and other officers to perform. She added that the rising rate of number of women officers in the Indian Air Force is a testament to the egalitarian policies of the organisation. “This shows that the Indian Air Force, which is a deeply respected institution in the country, has been so progressive and positive about bringing change in itself. So that’s how I would like to address this question,” Saxena said on the question about the gender discrimination faced by her during her initial years in the IAF.
The controversy surrounding the movie ‘Gunjan Saxena’
The issue came to the fore when the Netflix movie ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’, that essays the role of India’s first woman pilot Gunjan Saxena, landed in a controversy after viewers and Armed Forces veterans raised objections over the negative portrayal of the Indian Air Force in the commercial film. The Indian Armed Force shot off a letter to Dharma Productions, Netflix and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), protesting against the inaccurate representation of gender discrimination in the Air Forces as portrayed in the movie. The Air Force said that certain scenes and dialogues in the movie portrays it in a bad light.
According to an official privy to the details, before the release of the movie, the Indian Air Force had requested Dharma Productions to modify or delete the objectionable scenes. However, no such action was taken by the Karan Johar-owned production house.
It is also pertinent to note that the letter by the IAF was written after the Defence Ministry’s letter to the CBFC last month, raising objections to the depiction of armed personnel in some web series.