Photo Credit: Netflix
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is now a Netflix original film, the streaming service announced Tuesday. Starring Janhvi Kapoor in the lead as one of the first two Indian women to fly in a combat zone, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl also stars Pankaj Tripathi (Mirzapur) as her father, Angad Bedi (Inside Edge) as her brother, Viineet Kumar (Mukkabaaz), Manav Vij (Udta Punjab), and Ayesha Raza (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety). Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl has been directed by debutante Sharan Sharma, an associate director on Lust Stories, and produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, and Zee Studios.
Originally slated for theatres, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is now the second major Bollywood movie — after the Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmaan Khurrana-starrer Gulabo Sitabo, releasing Friday on Amazon Prime Video — to release directly on streaming amid the pandemic. In this case, it's a case of continuing the partnership that already exists between Netflix and Dharma, which has previously given us the dumpster fire Drive, with Sushant Singh Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez, and the Kiara Advani-starrer Guilty.
“Gunjan Saxena, a young girl from Lucknow with a big dream,” Kapoor narrates in a video made up of archival photos, released alongside. “She wanted to grow up and be a pilot. But she lived in a world that believed girls can't even drive cars; would that world let Gunjan fly a plane? But she didn't care about the world, she just trusted her father, who always told her, ‘Whether it's a man or a woman flying the plane, both are called pilots.'
“In the 1999 Kargil War, Gunjan Saxena flew a Cheetah Helicopter, she protected the country, and by being the first Woman Air Force Officer to enter a war zone, she made history. Today, there are more than 1600 Women Officers in the Indian Air Force, who inspire all of India's daughters to chase their dreams.” The video ends with photos of Kapoor with Saxena and her family.
Saxena was one of two serving female Flight Lieutenants in the 1999 Kargil War, alongside Srividya Rajan. It's unclear if Rajan is part of the Netflix movie.
“Gunjan Saxena is a defining film based on a true story about a woman who showed unparalleled courage, and inspiration to many in the coming years,” Johar said in a mailed statement. “We are excited to partner with Netflix and share this fearless story about following your heart and your dreams with millions around the world.”
No release date has been announced as yet for Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl.
Can Netflix force Bollywood to reinvent itself? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS. You can also download the episode or just hit the play button below.