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Filmmakers take artistic liberties to jazz up things, says former IAF pilot – Beyond Bollywood

A gallantry award winner former Indian Air Force pilot shares his/her initial perspective on the teaser of the upcoming action film. He is stunned by Hrithik Roshan’s inverted maneuver whilst taking off in his Su-30 so close to the runway.

Hrithik Roshan in Fighter [2024]

By Mayur Lookhar

Over many years, we’ve seen Indian Air Force pull off daredevilry during Republic Day [26 January] celebrations. It is only appropriate that a film on Indian Air Force arrives a day before. Disappointed by the fans not warming up to his rustic, ruffian avatar in Vikram Vedha [2022], Hrithik Roshan is back in his comfort zone – action. And he reunites with his War [2019] director Siddharth Anand for Fighter [2024], an action-packed patriotic drama that will see Roshan and Deepika Padukone play Indian Air Force pilots.

The over minute long teaser of Fighter was unleashed on Friday [8 December]. There is buzz whether this film is in any way based on the 2019 Balakot Air Strike by IAF that was carried out to avenge the loss of our 40 Army men in the Pulwama terror attack (2019). Earlier some 18 soldiers were lost in the Uri terror attack [2016[. In the Fighter teaser, we see about 57-58 coffins wrapped in the tri colour. Later there is a shot of IAF aircrafts firing in the woods. Didn’t IAF strike at a terror camp in the woods of Balakot, Pakistan?

As expected, the Top Gun comparison was natural. Fighter teaser certainly appears to have a Top Gun hangover, but our curiosity stemmed more from the dare or should we say air-devilry on display.

Social media, critics, especially YouTubers seem to have become overnight experts on Air Force, aerodynamics. All can have their say but the only one capable of commenting on the trailer, in particularly, the air-devilry, are Air Force pilots/aviation personnel.

Beyond Bollywood spoke to a former gallantry award winner IAF pilot [Retd] to get his/her perspective on the Fighter teaser. Naturally, s/he spoke to us requesting anonymity.

Sharing his/her initial impression, the retired IAF pilot says, “You don’t require a professional to tell you that there is lot of artistic imagination. If you ask me, technically it [crazy maneuvers] are possible, but practically how much of this is possible, I will reserve my comment on that.”

Viewers have been astounded by the visual of Patty [Hrithik Roshan] taking off in an inverted position, that too so close to the runway, and then doing a quick flip at the same distance.  

Sharing his/her wisdom on the particular scene, the officer says, “Flying inverted over each other – is it possible?  Of course, it is. You are flying very low, inverted over the runway, and then do a backflip. Is that possible? Technically yes. Will you do it? I don’t think so. Some of the Formation aerobatics team do that, but not this low. Without seeing the story, I don’t know what is the need for a Fighter jet to do that.”

The officer, who won a gallantry award for his/her heroism in Kargil War [1999], also stated that a Sukhoi-30 or Su-30 Aircraft is capable of deadly combat maneuvering.  There is a visual in Fighter teaser, where the Su-30 aircraft stands still in the air – Cobra maneuvering.

Talking about it, s/he says, “Can the Su-30 just stand in the air? Yes, it has got the capability, where it can almost come to a standstill in the air, because of the thrust vectoring, Probably, it’s the only aircraft where you can do that kind of thing. I’m sure they [Fighter makers] have taken professional guidance.”

Often Indian films are viewed upon with a hawk eye. Top Gun is a benchmark for such action films, but the former IAF officer pointed out that the American film too took creative liberties.

Tom Cruise does a 9 g’s pullout in Top Gun: Maverick [2022]. 9 g’s is simply a way of quantifying the maximum acceleration a fighter jet pilot may experience during flight. This number translates to a force of nine times a person’s weight.

Speaking on the 9 g’s pullout maneuver in the Hollywood film, our retired officer states, “I’m sure Top Gun has heavily influenced many generations. Even out there, he [Tom Cruise] does that. When you do a 9-g’s pullout, a pilot generally will not be able to withstand it. When you see a Top Gun, there are technical feasibilities, but practically can you do all those? It’s a movie. I think we leave it at that.”

The officer opined that when it comes to such films, one doesn’t really look for technicalities. People simply go for fun. S/he narrated a famous saying in the Air Force, globally.

“Some of the stuff [in films], I would love to do, but I won’t be allowed. There is a saying in Air Force, all over the world. There are old fighter pilots, and there are bold fighter pilots. But there are rarely old and bold fighter pilots. If you did something this bold, you may not live long to become old,”

Fighter [2024] makers can perhaps heave a sigh of relief as this officer found few things right in the teaser. S/he felt that the uniform looked fairly right, unlike in the past, where one would wear an Army rank, sport hat of a navy officer, and shoes of an IAF pilot. The officer lauded Fighter makers for this basic research.

Without naming them, the officer wasn’t amused by couple of preceding films which left the IAF horrified. Early this year, Kangana Ranaut’s Tejas was slammed for its poor representation of IAF, and horrifying VFX. In 2021, Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride of India had copped similar criticism.

The officer felt that filmmakers take artistic liberties to jazz up things. One will have to wait and watch, how Fighter comes out on the heels of two movies which were not really a great/practical portrayal of IAF.

One of the criticisms levied against the Fighter teaser on social media is the brief shots of IAF officers dancing, and then Hrithik and Deepika cozying up in their beachwear. With regards to the dancing IAF officers, the veteran felt that it will need to be viewed in the film’s context. As for the sensual visuals, the officer reminded all that everyone has a personal life and that IAF officers usually live a good life.

Team Fighter though can breathe easy as the former IAF officer didn’t find the teaser to be bad.

“To an Airforce eye, it didn’t look like oh shit what is that? This [Fighter] teaser doesn’t scare me. This looks nice. I’m a movie buff, so, I will definitely watch it,” the retired IAF officer signed off.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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