Pankaj Tripathi has joined the cast of the yet-untitled biopic on the first female Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot, Gunjan Saxena. The film features Janhvi Kapoor in the lead role of Saxena.

Tripathi confirmed the news during an interaction with Mid-Day, and informed the daily that he will play the role of Jahnvi’s father Anuj Saxena in the film. “I liked the character very much of playing father to Janhvi Kapoor in the film. A great bonding is (sic) developed between us while working on the sets. I am having a lot of fun while shooting for the film,” he said.

As per the same report, Pankaj and Janhvi will be shooting for the first schedule of the film till the first week of March, after which he will return to Mumbai.

Saxena, along with her colleague Srividya Rajan, were part of the first female batch of 25 Indian Air Force trainee pilots in 1994. During the 1999 war, Flight Lieutenant Saxena and Srividya Rajan were called on duty to Kargil. Their responsibilities included carrying out medical evacuations, dropping supplies and identifying Pakistani positions on the war zone. They flew small Cheetah helicopters and were completely unarmed while traversing enemy territories. Her contribution during the war earned her a Shaurya Vir, a gallantry honour for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice, while not engaging in direct enemy combat. She was the first woman to have received the honour from the army.

The biopic will be directed by debutant Sharan Sharma, who has worked as an assistant director on Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

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