Located in Gujarat, the Bhuj Rudra Mata Air Force Base shares its runway with the Bhuj domestic airport. Before the airbase was destroyed by the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and entirely reconstructed, another calamity happened 30 years prior that is etched into the minds of every Indian. A heroic event, which recounts the story of 300 absolutely fearless women, who left their families and children behind to make India it’s their first priority.
Director Abhishek Dudhaiya is now making the inspirational story into a Bollywood movie titled ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’. It happened during the 1971 India-Pakistan war when there were unrest and chaos in the country. While our Indian soldiers fought tooth and nail with the Pakistanis, the civilians were afraid to even venture out of their homes.
On one such night of the Indo-Pak war on December 8th 1971, 14 Napalm bombs were dropped one after another on the Bhuj airstrip by a Squadron of Sabre Jets, of Pakistan. A large part of the airstrip was badly damaged, which made it impossible for the Indian fighter planes to take off and land there. With a lack of manpower and enough time, the IAF was helpless. Squadron leader Vijay Karnik, who was assigned at the Bhuj Air Base, sprung into action and decided to take help of the villagers around.
The labourers there were scared for their lives due to the constant attack and passing of the Pakistani fighter jets overhead. Left with no choice and despair, Karnik then spoke to the villagers and women of Madhapur, about their dilemma. To his surprise, in no time around 300 women came forward to help out the IAF with the reconstruction of the Bhuj airstrip.
Vijay then instructed the women carefully about what to do when the enemy attacks and where to hide. They even covered a portion of the airstrip with cow dung to avoid the enemy planes from spotting it. The first day of work for the women and officers was terrible, as there was no food and they slept hungry near the base. The next day they were lucky to get sweets and fruits, thanks to the kindness of the local temple priests. Thus, work then began in full force. With hard work and bravery on their shoulders, the women managed to completely reconstruct the airstrip in 3 days straight.
It was then at 4:00 p.m on the fourth day, that the combat aircraft took off from that very strip, and was marked as a historic moment for India. The women’s valour, sacrifice and readiness to even give their life to their country made them national unsung heroes of their time! Squadron leader Vijay Karnik’s role will be played by Ajay Devgan in the film ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’. The other cast members of the movie include Sanjay Dutt as Ranchordas Savabhai Rabari Pagi, Sonakshi Sinha as Sunderben Jetha Madharparya, Parineeti Chopra as Heena Rehman, Ammy Virk as the fighter pilot and many more. The movie was announced by producer Kumar Mangat in March this year and is slated to release on August 14 2020.