Are Biopics like Gunjan Saxena Misrepresenting Facts for Entertainment?
The new Netflix Film Gunjan Saxena is in a sea of criticism for many reasons
I know I had written a review on Gunjan Saxena praising the film for bringing to the limelight an untold story of India’s first IAF Woman officer to fly in the combat zone.
There was no sexism at IAF
‘We never faced any humiliating physical strength demonstrations as shown in the movie. We were never ill-treated or humiliated by our fellow officers. As shown in the movie, there were no separate toilet facilities and changing rooms for ladies in the unit. After initial difficulties, we shared the limited resources with our fellow officers and they always accommodated and helped us whenever it was needed.’
Just imagine how beautiful and empowering it would be to depict men in the film like they actually were- supportive and empathetic and not sexist and rude. Not only would it provide a new perspective, but it would also inspire and encourage other men to be the same and assure women that such places are a healthy environment to work at.
The IAF has come forward questioning the undue negative portrayal of the institution. While Dharma Productions did agree to represent IAF with authenticity and make all efforts to ensure that the film helps to inspire the next generation of IAF officers, the institution is disappointed in the production house’s efforts.
Namrita Chandi, a fellow batchmate of Gunjan Saxena writes in her letter –
‘Creative license is one thing but when you deal with institutions, you cannot change facts. Elaborate and fantasize, if you must. But don’t peddle lies.’
Her letter reminds me of yet another biopic released recently – Shakuntala Devi.
Based on the life of world-famous mathematician, the film has been fictionalized to a great extent. But the good thing is that it has nowhere defamed anyone or anything and used the “creative license” properly without peddling any lies.
While the controversies surrounding whether or not Gunjan Saxena is the first female IAF officer to fly in the war zone don’t hold much relevance after all these years of her career, the nepotism debate is yet another hurdle that the film is facing. I do not deny that Janhvi did a good job but could anyone else have done it better? Probably.