‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’ is an Indian war drama film directed by Abhishek Dudhaiya which tells the story of an Indian Air Force (IAF) Squadron Leader, who along with a group of women from a small village, rebuilds an airstrip that is crucial for the country in a war against an enemy nation. The 1971 Indo-Pak War backdrop of the film will certainly make the audience wonder about the film’s connection to reality. If you are curious to find out more about the inspiration behind the movie, allow us to share everything, we know in that regard!
Is Bhuj: The Pride of India Based on a True Story?
Yes, ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’ is based on a true story. The film is based on the life of IAF Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik, who played an instrumental role in rebuilding an IAF airstrip in Bhuj, Gujrat. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a complicated one. It had its roots in the Partition of India and directly led to the liberation of East Pakistan and its reformation as Bangladesh.
On December 3, 1971, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) carried out a number of preemptive airstrikes to destroy the forward airbases and radar setups of the IAF. The PAF continued to attack Indian airbases by dropping bombs on a number of Indian runways, including the one in Bhuj. These attacks allowed Pakistani forces to make inroads into Indian territory and marked the start of the Indo-Pak War of 1971, which lasted 13 days.
During the war, the Bhuj airstrip was constantly raided by the PAF. On December 8, 1971, PAF planes dropped 14 Napalm bombs on the airstrip, completely destroying it and stopping IAF from launching a retaliation. Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik, two officers, 50 IAF, and 60 Defense Security Corps (DSC) personnel began to rebuild the airstrip.
However, the task was arduous and time-consuming because IAF had a minimal number of laborers at hand. That’s when nearly 300 people, mostly women from the nearby Madhapur village in Bhuj, stepped up. They worked with Karnik, IAF, and DSC personnel to rebuilt the airstrip and made it functional in a matter of 3 days.
The movie’s director Abhishek Dudhaiya has revealed that his grandmother, Laxmi Parmar, was also one of the women involved in rebuilding the Bhuj airstrip. Dudhaiya grew up listening to stories about the Bhuj airstrip from his grandmother and wanted to make a film on the subject to inform the audience about the 1971 war.
To craft an authentic cinematic version of the inspiring true story, Dudhaiya spoke to 60 women who were a part of the reconstruction process. He also talked to Karnik and consulted with an Indian Armed Forces personnel. The director noted that along with the heavy patriotic theme of the movie, women empowerment is also an underlying theme of the story.
The movie changes certain cosmetic details and takes cinematic liberties while portraying the incredible true story on screen, but the essence of patriotism never wavers. ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’ honors the efforts of the people who stepped up when their nation needed them. Most importantly, it highlights the actions of the women who remained the unsung heroes of the story until now.
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