Facts completely distorted to give an impression to the public that the IAF practises gender bias: Defence Ministry
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined a petition by the Centre and the Indian Air Force (IAF) to stay the streaming of Netflix movie Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl but said it would hear directly from former Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena herself on the allegations that the movie depicted the force in a bad light.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher made Ms. Saxena, based on whose life the movie is made, a party in the suit filed by the Centre and sought response from her on the issue. The High Court also sought the response of Dharma Productions Private Limited, which produced the movie, director Karan Johar and Netflix.
During the hearing, the court asked the Centre as to why it did not approach it before release of the movie on the Over The Top (OTT) platform and said a stay could not be granted now as the film was already streaming.
The Ministry of Defence and the IAF, in the suit filed through Central government standing counsel Gaurang Kanth, stated that the IAF “has always provided equal opportunities to the meritorious officers irrespective of their gender, caste, region, religion, etc.”
They said, “In August 1966, Flight Lieutenant Kanta Handa, an IAF medical officer, became the first female IAF officer to receive a commendation for her service during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war”.
“Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena and Flight Lieutenant Sreevidya Rajan were among the first women to fly in a combat zone during Kargil War. In 2012, Flight Lieutenant Nivedita Choudhary became the first woman from the Indian Air Force to summit the Mount Everest,” it said.
The Ministry stated that a historical film made on the IAF based on the life story of a war hero had to be based on true incidents or instances as the audience watching such a biopic film assumed so.
“Such a movie cannot be fictionalised or dramatised to such an extent as in the present movie, wherein an entirely different perspective is created based on false and misleading facts/ events that leaves an adverse impression in the minds of the viewers, thereby tarnishing the image of the true characters and the organisation,” the Ministry argued.
“The facts have been completely distorted to give an impression to the public at large that the Indian Air Force practises gender bias and discrimination,” it said.
The suit stated that the movie was never shown to a preview committee, set up in accordance with the Ministry of Defence’s 2013 guideline, and that the producers of the movie went ahead with its release on Netflix without obtaining a no objection certificate from the IAF.