'Gunjan Saxena': IAF writes to Censor Board over negative portrayal
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has written to film certification body Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), thereby objecting to its alleged negative portrayal in the biographical film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. The movie, produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, debuted on streaming platform Netflix on Wednesday. It stars Janhvi Kapoor in the lead role. Here are more details on this.
What is 'Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl' all about?
Directed by Sharan Sharma, The Kargil Girl is inspired from the life of celebrated former IAF officer Gunjan Saxena. A recipient of the Shaurya Chakra award, Saxena scripted history when she and Flight Lieutenant Srividya Rajan became the first-ever Indian women in combat. The two pilots flew Cheetah helicopters for casualty evacuation and reconnaissance during the 1999 Kargil War, fought between India and Pakistan.
IAF said the film portrays it in 'undue negative light'
In its letter, also sent to Dharma Productions and Netflix, the IAF said that according to an initial understanding, the production house had agreed to represent the IAF with authenticity. It was promised that the film would help inspire the next generation of IAF officers, the letter added. However, the released movie portrays the IAF in an "undue negative light," it alleged.
Dharma presented some situations that are misleading: IAF
"In the aim to glorify the screen character of Ex-Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena, M/s Dharma Productions presented some situations that are misleading and portray an inappropriate work culture especially against women in the IAF," the force said in the letter.
IAF has demanded removal/modification of some scenes
IAF added in the letter that it has always ensured gender-neutral practices and equal opportunities for both men and women. It also attached a summary of the scenes and dialogues that it considered objectionable, and demanded either removal or modification of the said scenes. "This HQ considers that a mere media plan and disclaimer [on part of Dharma] would not be adequate," it concluded.
However, CBFC does not currently regulate OTT platforms
Meanwhile, it should be noted that the CBFC does not currently regulate content released on streaming platforms such as Netflix. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is reportedly working to come up with a regulatory framework for these platforms. On a related note, the Defense Ministry last month raised serious concerns over movies and web series affecting the image of Indian Armed Forces.
'Gunjan Saxena' is already a subject of online hatred
The fresh controversy has come at a time when the film's lead star Janhvi Kapoor and producer Karan Johar are already a subject of online hatred and trolling. This is due to the reignited debate about nepotism and favoritism in Bollywood in the aftermath of tragic death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. In fact, Johar's name was also missing from the Gunjan Saxena trailer.