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Why Sreevidya Rajan Didn't Object to Gunjan Saxena's 'First Female Pilot to Fly to Kargil' Claim Before Biopic Released

Janhvi Kapoor in 'Gunjan Saxena'

Janhvi Kapoor in 'Gunjan Saxena'

Sreevidya Rajan, who was Gunjan Saxena's batchmate responded to questions as to why she did not object to the latter's name being associated with the first woman to fly to Kargil till the release of Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl.

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, the biopic of Flight Lieutenant (retd) Gunjan Saxena has been riddled with controversies post its release on Netflix recently. At first, the Indian Air Force objected to the negative portrayal of the organisation, and then the authenticity of the film was questioned. Gunjan Saxena's batchmate Sreevidya Rajan said that it was in fact her who was the first female pilot to fly to Kargil.

Responding to the allegations, Gunjan had questioned why since July 1999 till the release of the biopic, no one raised any objection to her name being projected as the first woman to serve during the Kargil war. In response to this, Sreevidya, in an interview with Mid-day, said that she said that it was an oversight on the makers' part to not mention her at all. She added that according to a conversation that took place in 2017, Gunjan had clearly told the filmmakers that there were two of them and the makers decided to change the fact.

She said, “When the first batch went to war, only designated senior officers from Delhi were allowed to speak to the media; we were (barred from) interacting with them. I remember speaking only to Barkha Dutt, who had specifically asked for an interview with a woman pilot. By the time the second crew came, the media was allowed and Gunjan was interviewed. Naturally, people assumed she was the first woman, but after the war, the IAF arranged for press interactions with both of us."

She added that as per the IAF rules, course mates cannot fly together in the same aircraft, so Gunjan flew the sortie for NDTV’s video interview. That is why, according to Sreevidya, Gunjan was remembered as the first woman to achieve the feat.

However the Retired Flight Lieutenant said that she has nothing against Gunjan. She said that her batchmate was a woman of achievements not even mentioned in the film. She further added they will not throw much at each other in public. "When you have served in a war together, you are like siblings. A film can never come between us,” she said

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl stars Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad Bedi, Manav Vij, Viineet Kumar Singh and Chandan Anand. The film is directed by Sharan Sharma and produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions.