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Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl Movie Review: A Genial Janhvi Kapoor and a Fabulous Pankaj Tripathi Effuse Warmth With Their Bonding in This Likeable Biopic

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Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl Movie Review: With Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl, the much-in-news Dharma Production gets into war biopics, to be followed by Sidharth Malhotra’s Sher Shaah. Gunjan Saxena is also a litmus test for Janhvi Kapoor, the elder daughter of the late Sridevi and producer Boney Kapoor. She was underwhelming in her debut, Dhadak, but surprised us with a mature act in this year’s Ghost Stories. With an author-backed role in Gunjan Saxena, it is interesting to see if the newcomer lives up to the challenge. Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl Song Dori Tutt Gaiyaan: Janhvi Kapoor’s Latest Track Will Inspire You to Never Stop Chasing Your Dreams.

For those who are unaware, Gunjan Saxena was one of the first female IAF pilots in Indian army, and also the only female pilot during the Kargil war (hence that epithet). While it says a lot about how our own first line of defense is still clearing cobwebs of sexism till recently, Gunjan Saxena’s life-story is definitely inspiring for the right reasons.

Debutant Sharan Sharma’s film depicts her life, starting from the time when an air-hostess takes a young Gunjan to the cockpit, after her brother denies her a window seat. While I am not very sure if kids are allowed to access cockpits in 1984 (reminds me of the starkly humorous scene in Airplane!), the sight of the vast sky ahead of her leaves the little girl awe-struck. That’s the moment Gunjan began to sow dreams of being a pilot. Gunjan Saxena: Has Netflix Dropped Karan Johar’s Name From Posters and Trailer of Janhvi Kapoor Film Fearing Sushant Singh Rajput’s Controversy? Here’s a Fact Check!

As a teenager, Gunjan (Janhvi Kapoor) still harbours the same dream. Her mother (a charming Ayesha Raza Mishra) and her elder brother (Angad Bedi, underused) are against the idea, the former, because of her upbringing, the latter claiming that he is being protective. Only her father (Pankaj Tripathi) is supportive of her dreams.

Watch the Trailer of Gunjan Saxena:

When Gunjan couldn’t go ahead with her dreams of being an commercial airline pilot due to financial constraints, her father pushes her to into applying for Air Force. Despite the setbacks in the way, Gunjan makes it through, because, as her invigilator puts it, she was born to fly! Only that her real test was yet to come.

Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil War, despite the pompous name, is actually a simple film, and it’s the simplicity that works in its favour. The premise may move on a predictable pattern and some of the scenes are the usual drama variety, but the emotions infused feel genuine.

The best scenes in the biopic are the ones between the father and daughter. It really helps that Janhvi looks a teenager in those portions, and it also helps that the makers cast a fine performer like Tripathi as her father. It is a brilliant performance from the actor, backed by some really good writing and decent execution there.

Tripathi’s character falls in the same mould as what he did in Bareilly Ki Barfi – a soft-spoken paternal figure who is perhaps the biggest feminist among them all. But his role in Gunjan Saxena is  stronger and more likeable – being funny, wry, mild and yet assertive enough. That too, with indulging in dramebaazi.

Like, there is a scene where his son joins him for a drink and chides him for allowing Gunjan to harbour dreams of a pilot. Instead of scolding him, which was the expected way to go, Tripathi’s character merely tells his son that he should keep away from drinks.

The best moment for both the character and the actor comes near the third act, when a disappointed Gunjan thinks of hanging up her boots and looking to settle down. Her father doesn’t say much, but just takes her to the kitchen and… well, I would love you to watch this scene on your own. It is a fantastic bit of acting from Tripathi in this scene, where he keeps his disappointment in his eyes and the little quiver in his voice, but doesn’t allow it to take over his personality.

Beyond the father-daughter scenes, Gunjan’s portions, portraying her difficulty, in what has been an all-male camp at the IAF training barracks in Udhampur is also engaging. Especially, her interactions with her sceptical senior (Vineet Kumar Singh). Singh is a really good actor, and even though character skids in a one-track note, he makes his flawed character credible enough. Manav Vij, who plays the strict (but far more open-minded) HO, also pitches in a nice performance.

What affects these scenes are the cliched manner in how sexism is portrayed here. The movie stays true when it depicts the challenges Gunjan face in the campus, from no ladies’ toilet to no proper changing rooms. Not to mention, her seniors’ reluctance to train her. The real-life Gunjan also mentioned these difficulties in her interviews, but while speaking to The Week, she also adds that after the initial apprehensions, her male colleagues were more acceptable of her as part of their squad. Also, she wasn’t the only female trainee pilot in the batch, there was another girl too.

Sharma and his co-writer Nikhil Mehrotra have every right to change stuff a bit for dramatic purposes. Bollywood biopics are known to have done that – see how Dangal and Gold changed the how the real-life matches got played to add more thrill.

In the case of Gunjan Saxena, though, the scenes become repetitively caricatured, the highlight being the sequence where Singh’s character makes Gunjan do panja with a male colleague. Just to show that she, being a female, is ‘weaker’. Might make a good dramatic point, but I feel this could have been portrayed in a better way. It doesn’t bring the film down much, but the drama feels overplayed and artificial. As if the film is seeking a baddie that refuses to come out of the shadows.

The movie also plays Gunjan’s interactions with her brother during the Kargil war in a similar note. But I liked this part better. He claims he is trying to protect her, we want her to shut him down. Surprisingly, she doesn’t. Later in another scene, though, when he points out that the world won’t change in its attitude towards women, she quietly asks him to change first and then perhaps the world would be inspired to do so. It is small moments like this that makes the biopic worth a watch.

The climax, involving a rescue operation, is deftly handled, though people who expected to see more of Gunjan’s Kargil exploits might be disappointed. But then Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl isn’t really a war film, it is about a girl who aims for the skies and achieves that. And in that aspect, Gunjan Saxena works as a movie, because we finally have a character whose ambitions aren’t driven by chest-thumping patriotism, but easily relatable dreams! Just like Farhan Akhtar’s underrated Lakshya.

Amit Trivedi’s score is decent, with “Bharat Ki Beti” being the pick of the lot.

Now coming to the big question, especially with the whole nepotism banter around – how is Janhvi Kapoor in her third film? Honestly speaking, Janhvi shows a marked improvement as an actress from her debut film, though there are still some visible rough edges. She has a likeable screen presence, and fits in the role well. And she does good in her scenes with Tripathi. The best part is, Janhvi owns the role to a T.

There are a couple of portions where she still feels raw. Like an outburst scene in the second half, that should have come across as a powerful statement, but feels underwhelming because Janhvi is not completely convincing in the scene. Still, a couple more films like this that get her to improve herself as an actress, and we can have a bonafide star here!

Yay!

– Pankaj Tripathi

– Janhvi and Pankaj’s Portions

– Simple, Engaging Drama

Nay!

– Cliched Treatment of A Couple of Tracks

– Predictable Flow

Final Thoughts

Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl is a film that steers away from typical stereotypes related to a war biopic, by being a warm and engaging coming-of-age drama. It is simplistic, heartwarming and inspiring, while doing its bit to break shackles of misogyny and sexism. Also, Pankaj Tripathi and Janhvi Kapoor make a cool combo. Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl is streaming on Netflix from August 12.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 10, 2020 04:14 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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Star Wars, Hunger Games, The Big Bang Theory – Brie Larson Reveals 8 Major Projects She Auditioned For But Didn’t Get (Watch Video)

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Brie Larson may be a famous actor today known for her performances in films such as Room and Captain Marvel but the actress has been through her share of tough phases and lost out on some really amazing films. Considering the Academy Award-winning actress’ acting talents, it almost seems impossible that Larson may have faced rejections in Hollywood but much to our surprise, it is true. The actress recently started her own YouTube channel and has been posting sme amazing stuff. In her latest video, Brie spoke about failure and rejections as an actor. Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel To Fight Tom Holland’s Spider-man In Upcoming Sequel?

If you have watched certain films and wondered what they would be like had Brie Larson been cast in them, well you’ll be delighted to know, the actress did audition for quite a bit of them. In her latest video, Brie Larson revealed some of the biggest projects that she auditioned for but lost out getting cast in them due to whatever reasons. Not only films, but the actress also reveals a few famous TV series that she auditioned for. Here’s a list of projects that could have starred Brie Larson but unfortunately didn’t! Captain Marvel 2 Hires Nia DaCosta as Director, Ryan Fleck Congratulates.

1. Hunger Games

Hunger Games (Photo Credits: Movie Still)

Hunger Games (Photo Credits: Movie Still)

2. Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys (Photo Credits: Twitter)

3. Star Wars

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (Photo Credits: Twitter)

4. The Big Bang Theory

TBBT(Photo Credits: Instagram)

TBBT (Photo Credits: Instagram)

5. Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl (Photo Credits: Instagram)

6. Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland (Photo Credits: Twitter)

7. Spy Kid (As a child actor)

Spy Kids(Photo Credits: Twitter)

Spy Kids(Photo Credits: Twitter)

8. Hearts In Atlantis (As a child actor)

Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis (Photo Credits: Twitter)

Check Out Brie Larson’s YouTube Video Here:

We bet you’re surprised to find out how Brie Larson lost out on these amazing roles, knowing that she could have totally killed it. The last time we saw her on Jimmy Fallon’s show playing the lightsabre game was when we hoped to see her in the Star Wars series, wouldn’t she have truly rocked as a Jedi? Well, there’s always another time. It’s amazing how Larson has opened up about these big rejections and showed her fans acting isn’t really an easy job.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 15, 2020 03:06 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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