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Karan Should Have Portrayed Gunjan’s Brilliance Than Sexism: Sreevidya

Karan Johar, who has been smoked by late Sushant Singh Rajput’s fans for nepotism, seems to have no respite.

Sreevidya Rajan, first woman IAF pilot to fly in Kargil conflict, has come out with all guns blazing against the lies portrayed in Dharma Productions’ Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl. She called the portrayal of Gunjan Saxena played by actress Jahnvi Kapoor as twisted facts that sexism and gender discrimnation prevails in the Indian Air Force.

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She wished Gunjan should have made it sure that the filmmakers show the facts and portray IAF in a positive light before she could have given approval to air the film.

Speaking to India Speaks Daily, Sreevidya denied having disparity between male or female in defence services.

“In fact, male pilots had flown extensively and faced more hardships than lady officers in Kargil operations, but they never sought any publicity, but Gunjan and I were given this fame because of their gender which does not support.

Though I was the first lady pilot to fly in Kargil, I never claimed it in any forum before this due to my strong belief in gender equality,” she said.

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The filmmakers, Sreevidya said, should have portrayed the brilliance of Gunjan as an officer and many achievements she scaled during her career to inspire the younger generation instead of showing her as a weak and oppressed victim in certain scenes.

“As the pioneers of women pilots, we were treated with utmost respect and it was our responsibility to live up to the expectations and pave the way for future generations,” she said.

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The film is sending out a wrong message about lady officers by demeaning the prestigious organisation of the country, she lamented.

The squadron commander was a  thorough professional, strict and tough who took the male or female officers to task whenever they committed mistakes, she said.

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Sreevidya Rajan

“We never faced any humiliating physical strength demonstrations as shown in the movie. We were never ill-treated or humiliated by our fellow officers,” she added.

As shown in the film, there were no separate toilet facilities and changing rooms for ladies in the unit, but after initial difficulties, the female officers shared the limited resources with male officers who always accommodated and helped them when needed, Sreevidya said.

However, initially both Gunjan and she were received with the usual preconceived notions and prejudices from a few colleagues, Sreevidya said.

However, there were enough officers to support the, Sreevidya emphasises. “We were under strict scrutiny and certain mistakes of ours were met with corrective actions which may have been overlooked had it been done by our male counterparts,” she said.

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Both had to work harder than their counterparts to prove themselves to be at par with the male officers, she added.

Some were not happy to share the professional space with them, but the majority accepted and treated them as fellow officers working towards a common goal, Sreevidya clarified.

Yet another factual error in the film is the portrayal of Gunjan as the only lady pilot to fly in Kargil operations, she said.

“I flew missions in the conflict area even before Gunjan’s arrival at Srinagar. After a few days of operation, Gunjan came to Srinagar with the next set of crew. We were posted together to Udhampur and when the Kargil conflict started, I was the first woman pilot to be sent along with the male counterparts in the first detachment of our unit which deployed at Srinagar,” Sreevidya said.

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She said they both participated actively in all operations given to them which included casualty evacuation, supply drop, communication sorties, SAR, etc, but the heroic acts of Jhanvi in the climax never happened and may have been shown as part of cinematic licence.

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Sreevidya Rajan (L) and Gunjan Saxena

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