Directed by Siddharth Anand, Fighter tells the tale of a deadly mission undertaken by the Indian Air Force soldiers to protect the integrity of their nation and save it from the wrath of a madman whose sole agenda was to bring the nation to its knees. Shamsher Pathania, aka Patty, was known for his impulsive nature, which landed him in trouble many times in the past. He had a team of able fighters, and he respected them all, but he also knew that he was the best man for the job, and he often found it better to follow his instincts rather than protocol. So, let’s find out what happened in the film and if the Indian soldiers were able to save the day.
What happened in Pulwama?
Majid Khan was an active member of the terrorist organization, and he made sure that the entire valley was in a state of unrest. He carried out several missions to ensure peace never prevailed in the region. One fine day, Majid Khan got caught with tons of explosives, and the army knew that it was a big victory for them as they had been searching for the dreaded criminal for quite some time now. They had no idea whatsoever that they were walking in towards a trap set by none other than Azhar Akhtar. The moment the news came out, there was widespread chaos on the streets. People started pelting stones, and a lot of public property was damaged by the raging crowds. When the situation got out of hand, reinforcements were called, and that’s exactly what Azhar Akhtar wanted. He had brainwashed a young guy into believing that if he sacrificed his life for the cause of his religion, then he would go to heaven. That young boy drove past the truck of CRPF soldiers and detonated the bomb.
Around 70 soldiers died the most painful death, and the entire nation was in a state of shock. Rakesh Jai Singh wanted to go to war at that moment, but his senior asked him to calm down as he knew the consequences of acting in haste. Patty, Bash, Mini, Taj, and everybody else came back after their usual drill, and they were shocked by the sight they witnessed. There was blood everywhere, and they couldn’t understand how the intelligence didn’t have any information about it before. The enemy was sitting right under their nose, and they had no clue about it. The Indian spy, who used the pseudonym Zarina, also missed out on this one, and Patty, in his anger, blamed him for the deaths of his fellow soldiers. The Indian forces decided to reply to the Pakistani regime. That’s how Operation “Bandar” was born. It was decided that the Indian fighter jet pilots would cross LOC and destroy the base camp where the members of the terrorist organization were trained. Even Azhar Akhtar was present there, and so the idea was to go all guns blazing and give a befitting reply on behalf of Indian soldiers who lost their lives. So Patty, Mini, Bash, and Sartaj, together with other colleagues, went with a fire burning inside their hearts and succeeded in their mission. They destroyed the base camp, though Azhar Akhtar was able to make a near escape.
Were Bash and Taj released from captivity?
The Pakistani government wanted to dissociate itself from the terrorist organization. They had given them refuge, and now, after the reply from the Indian Air Force, they believed that they had committed a blunder doing that. They feared that if the IAF could destroy the base camp, they could have also come even further and waged a war against the country. They knew that they were grateful that they had an enemy who had some values and a code of conduct. But Azhar was desperate to take revenge. He told the army leaders that now they cannot back off, as it could be perceived as weakness, and they had to show what they could do. That’s when it was decided that the Pakistani Air Force pilots would cross borders in their F16s and lure in the Indian soldiers to follow them. The trap was laid, and Patty and his entire fleet walked right into it. The radio single was blocked, and so Patty couldn’t hear that his seniors were telling him not to cross LOC. During the chase, a tragedy happened that changed everything for Patty. Sartaj Gill, aka Taj, and Bashir Khan, aka Bash, couldn’t come back safely, and at the very last moment, they had to eject from the plane. They were taken into custody by the Pakistani army and kept there for more than 40 days. They were tortured and abused, and they were made to see hell.
The Indian government was putting a lot of force on the Pakistani regime to leave their boys, but Azhar Akhtar was totally against it and internally putting pressure on the government. After a lot of negotiations, it was decided that both Bash and Taj would be released and sent back to India. Azhar didn’t like how, even when they were standing in the face of death, they didn’t lose their pride. He wanted to break them from within, but these soldiers were just not ready to bow down. There was a heated argument between Bashar and Azhar, and the latter lost his temper. He mutilated Bashar’s body beyond recognition and sent it back to India. When Rocky, Patty, Mini, and others saw it, they were horrified. The Pakistanis did not release Taj, and they said that they had no role to play in Bashar’s death, and he succumbed to his injuries. The Indian Air Force soldiers knew that reality as they had seen the scars and realized how much that poor soul was tortured. It was decided that Garud soldiers would be dropped where they believed Taj was held as a hostage, and they would rescue him. It was not going to be an easy mission, but the government decided that it wouldn’t leave Taj behind and that every effort would be made to rescue and bring him back.
Why did Rocky not like Patty?
Naina Jai Singh was an able pilot in the Indian Air Force, and she was also Patty’s fiancé. They were on a mission together, where Patty was providing support from behind, and Naina was going to rescue the Garud soldiers who were stuck on the ground. There were missiles being fired from the ground, and ideally, she shouldn’t have taken her helicopter so close. She told Patty that she was going to do that, and he didn’t stop her. Naina’s helicopter was hit by a missile, and she fell to the ground and died on the spot. We got to know much later in Fighter that Rakesh Jai Singh was Naina’s brother, and since that time, he hated Patty. Rakesh believed that had Patty stopped her sister that day, she would still be alive. Deep down, Rakesh knew that it was not Patty’s fault, and any person in his position would have done the same thing. But the bias was coming because his sister was involved, and he wanted to harbor that delusion, probably because he was not ready to accept the truth. Patty was asked to justify his stance once again when Taj and Bash were captured by the Pakistani forces.
An entire trial was conducted, and though Patty was found not guilty, he was transferred to the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad and given the position of flying instructor. Patty came back to the Srinagar base when he got to know that Taj and Bash were being released. There were strict orders that Patty wouldn’t be a part of Taj’s rescue mission, though he desperately wanted to fly with the team. Mini tried to convince Rakesh not to send Patty to the academy, but he had made up his mind. Patty also somewhere blamed himself for the death of his fiancé. There came a time in Fighter when Mini expressed her feelings for Patty and told him how much she liked him. But Patty didn’t want to enter into any relationship, as he knew that he didn’t have anything left inside him to give to the other person. His fiancé’s death had left a void that he was finding hard to fill. Patty asked Mini to focus on her career and find somebody who could love her the way she deserved.
How Did Patty Kill Azhar Akhtar?
The Garud forces were dropped to the ground, and Azhar Akhtar was taken by surprise, as he didn’t expect the Indian soldiers to arrive before night. The R&A spy, Yafid Salim, deceived Azhar Akhtar into believing that he was on his side, but all this while he was loyal to his nation. Azhar Akhtar had a fierce battle with the “Garud” soldiers, and soon, the Pakistani forces and members of the terrorist group outnumbered the Indian soldiers. Mini was sent with Sukhi to bring back the soldiers, and that’s when Azhar blew up Sukhi’s helicopter and made sure that a chunk of soldiers were not able to escape. Taj was rescued by Mini, but she also didn’t go back to India because she knew that the soldiers on the ground needed her support. That’s when Patty, who was standing just like an onlooker up until then, decided to take charge of things. He told his seniors that if they wanted, they could court martial him, but he was not going to sit there idly and see his colleagues die. Rakesh might have been against Patty since the very beginning, but this time he gave in.
During Fighter‘s ending, we saw that Patty and Rakesh were on the same Sukhoi jet, and they wreaked havoc on the enemy forces. Patty and Azhar Akhtar finally came face-to-face, and the former took revenge on him and killed him in the end. Patty finally let go of the past and he told Mini how much he wanted to be with her. He reconciled with Rakesh too who accepted the truth and told Paty that he was wrong in blaming him all this while. Taj was saved, and together with Patty, Mini, Rakesh, and others, the Indian Air Force soldiers came back.