Gunjan Saxena film: govt., IAF for deletion of scenes

The Centre and Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday insisted on deletion of certain scenes from the Netflix film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, saying that the disclaimer at the beginning of the film was just an “eyewash”.

“Disclaimer cannot annihilate the visual depiction…A particular officer of the IAF who was very upright and never had any misogynist attitude, he has been shown as a virtual villain in the film,” Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said.

“Also there is a scene where an arm wrestling is happening between a male officer and Ms. Saxena. These incidents never happened, and the affidavit of Ms. Saxena support this,” Mr. Jain said.

“If what you are showing in a so called biopic is something which is distorting the image of the IAF, then the disclaimer is not going to dilute it,” Mr. Jain said, adding, “They [filmmakers] don’t get artistic licence to defame a living organisation of national importance”.

To this submission, Justice Rajiv Shakdher said, “Sometimes you must think beyond the particular matter. Because perception of people and artist may vary. It’s a thought which they want to put on celluloid, canvas, books. You may or may not agree with that”.

“Don’t try and put it in a box. They may be wrong completely. But it is a view if they feel there is gender bias in the organization. Today it could be the Air Force, or bureaucracy, tomorrow it could be the judiciary,” Justice Shakdher remarked.

“Even in our profession there is talk of gender bias in the courts. People say there are not enough women on the bench or there are not enough lady senior advocate,” Justice Shakdher added.

The court while posting the hearing in the case for January 18 declined Mr. Jain’s plea to stop the theatre release of the film. “People have seen this movie on OTT [over-the-top] platform,” the court said.

Responding to the allegations that the movie depicted the Air Force in a bad light, Ms. Saxena in an affidavit said, “The deponent [Ms. Saxena] does not claim that everything that is shown in the movie has happened with her in her real life”.

“However, the Deponent believe that the message sought to be conveyed through the Movie is to motivate young women to join the IAF,” Ms. Saxena said.

She said that as per the agreement, she had no role in deciding or finalising the story, script, screenplay or dialogues in the Movie. “The deponent firmly believes that IAF as an institution is very progressive and will forever remain grateful for the opportunities given to her by the IAF,” she added.

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