On a day when the Sadak 2 trailer broke all records by crossing over 5 million dislikes, Janhvi Kapoor starrer Gunjan Saxena also dropped on Netflix. The movie despite based on the life of India’s brave heart Gunjan Saxena was under the scanner after the tragic demise of Sushant Singh Rajput as people were left unimpressed by Janhvi Kapoor’s acting skills in the trailer as they felt Janhvi won’t be able to justice to the life of Gunjan Saxena. In a move which can spell further trouble for the movie, the Indian Air Force has strongly objected to the ‘negative portrayal’ of work culture in its letter to Dharma Production and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Even before the release of Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, there was a lot of negativity around the movie mainly because of the lead actor, Janhvi Kapoor being a product of nepotism. In a bid to change the sentiment around the movie, a lot of Bollywood stars and journalists lined up to shower aplomb praises on the movie before its release with Hrithik Roshan “crying his eyes out”. The movie’s trailer gave enough hints that the movie like any other Bollywood movie will be agenda driven and will portray our armed forces in a poor light and it seems that the worst fears have indeed come true as the Indian Air Force (IAF) has shot off a letter to Karan Johar’s Dharma Production, Netflix and the CBFC.
In the letter, the IAF stated that, “Dharma Productions had agreed to represent Indian Air Force (IAF) with authenticity and make all efforts to ensure that the film helps to inspire the next generation of IAF officers. ” However, when the trailer of the movie was released recently, it was observed that “certain scenes and dialogues in the movie and its trailer, which was forwarded to this office for viewing, have been found to portray the IAF in an undue negative light.”
It further read, “In the aim to glorify the screen character of ‘Ex-Fit Lt Gunjan Saxena’, M/s Dharma Productions presented some situations that are misleading and portray an inappropriate work culture especially against women in the IAF.”
It is unfortunate that the IAF has to yet again clear the air as it clarified, “that the organisation is gender neutral and has always provided an equal opportunity to both male and women personnel.”
Make no mistake, this is not an innocent error by the makers. The IAF has revealed that Dharma Productions has not acted on their concerns despite being informed earlier. The letter which also consists of the summary of objectionable scenes and dialogues which showed the non-existent gender bias in the IAF also revealed that the Karan Johar-owned Dharma Productions was “informed about the objectionable portion of the movie and was advised to delete/modify the same. However, the production house has not deleted the scenes but it proposed a media plan in the run-up to the release and insert a disclaimer in the movie.”
The IAF it seems is extremely miffed with the makers and rightly so with the Indian Air Force stating that, “In view of the above, the issue of grant of NOC for the release of the movie will be considered after deleting or suitably modifying the scenes in order to cater to the observations mentioned.”
We all know how our Armed Forces completely believe in meritocracy and not gender-bias with all branches of the IAF open for both genders including the Fighter stream of Flying Branch.
Netflix desperately tried to undo the damage but the audience was not buying it as the movie was being panned by the viewers for its negative portrayal of our armed forces.
Keeping in mind the trend and the menace to defame the Indian Armed Forces in various OTT shows and movies, last month the defence ministry wrote a letter to the CBFC, drawing the board’s attention to producers of movies and web series distorting the image of the Indian Army and stated they should obtain a no-objection certificate from the defence ministry before airing their movies or shows.
It’s shameful that despite the IAF’s concerns the makers of the movement ahead to present a distorted image of the Air Force. It needn’t be explicitly spelled out who gains the most when our armed forces are presented in a poor light in major Bollywood films.