00:04 GMT11 July 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian actor Vivek Oberoi has struck a chord with patriots by announcing his next big project in Bollywood, producing a film based on the Indian Air Force’s surgical strike in Balakot area of Pakistan on 26 February.

    The film, expected to be released in 2020, will highlight the courage of the Indian Air Force, particularly that of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was held captive by Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight and held for days.

    Wing Commander Varthaman was awarded India's third-highest military honour the "Vir Chakra" on 15 August for shooting down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 aircraft.

    The film by Vivek Oberoi, who earlier played the role of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his biopic film, is titled "Balakot: The True Story" and will be a trilingual film in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu languages.

    "As a proud Indian, a patriot, and a member of the film fraternity, it's my duty to highlight what our Armed Forces are truly capable of. In the form of a trilingual, this film is a powerful tool to underline the achievements of brave officers like Wing Commander Abhinandan, who went behind the enemy lines and did what makes every Indian proud of them," said Vivek.

    The actor said he took permission for the film from the Indian Air Force just a day before India's Independence Day on 15 August.

     "The Balakot airstrike was one of the well-planned attacks by the IAF. I have followed everything in the news right from the attack in Pulwama to the airstrikes in Balakot. There was a lot that was speculated and spoken about back then; this film will put all of that to rest, once and for all. I thank the IAF for trusting us with this story, and we hope to do justice to it," he added.

    The actor took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the Indian Armed Forces.

    Netizens heaped a lot of praise on the actor who has given Bollywood hits like “Sathiya” and “Grand Masti” among others.

    A dogfight followed the 26 February airstrike by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan's Balakot region on the next day. It was an escalation starting from the 14 February Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir, reportedly carried out by a suicide bomber from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in which 40 Indian security personnel died, prompting a strike by India on the JeM camps in Balakot.

    On 27 February, the Pakistan Air Force retaliated with an airstrike, during which the dogfight involving Wing Commander Abhinandan took place. Pakistan forces detained him but returned him to India within 72 hours, following diplomatic manoeuvres.


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