Chennai: An Indian Air Force pilot advances into enemy territory. His fighter jet is shot down. He is captured and is swiftly taken as a Prisoner of War by the Pakistani Army.
If that reads like the story of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, you are not wrong. But it is not only his story.
The exact same sequence of events transpired in the Tamil film 'Kaatru Veliyidai'. And the hard to miss irony is that Abhinandan’s father, Air Marshal (Retd) S Varthaman, worked as a consultant on the Mani Ratnam film that came out two years ago.
While there have been many movies on real-life incidents, in this case, real life followed the reel.
"These are the films that will awaken any audience and awaken the people to feel for the military, who do whatever they have to do, with pride and honour, so that our country can flourish," Varthaman had said at the film’s audio release.
Proud of the Air Force and the Armed Forces' contribution, the retired Air Marshal had passionately spoken about how many people, particularly in South India, do not realise how big their contribution is.
In a cruel twist of fate, Varthaman's own son, Wing Commander Abhinandan, was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday, after his MiG-21 Bison aircraft went down in Pakistan occupied Kashmir after an aerial battle, in which he shot down an F-16 jet.
While the entire country was anxious about the fate of the Wing Commander after videos of him responding to questions by Pakistani army went viral, his father, being a veteran himself, was confident that his son will be safe, say relatives who were with the family during the two days Abhinandan was held captive.
In the video, a visibly calm Abhinandan was seen answering questions on his identity and refusing to answer any more questions on the grounds that protocol does not demand it.
In the film, the hero breaks out of prison after three years and goes back in search of his love.
In real life, Abhinandan returned home after a 60 dramatic hours on Friday night to a hero’s welcome.