‘Operation Valentine’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: What happened To Yash Sharma?


The Indian action thriller film Operation Valentine, directed by Shakti Pratap Singh, is fiction inspired by the 2019 Pulwama terrorist attack and Balakot Air Strikes. The film focuses on the bravery displayed by the Indian Air Force in its strategic planning and execution during a time of crisis. Wing Commander Aahna Gill deduced that the Pakistan Air Force was protecting terrorists after tracking down their air movement. The amount of armor transferred caused a sense of panic, and the information was shared with intelligence. The enemy named their operation ‘Nehru’, and decoding its meaning and stopping the attack became the greatest challenge for the Indian Air Force.

Spoiler Alert

How was Arjun Dev affected by Project Vajra?

Test pilot Arjun Dev was severely injured during the execution of Project Vajra. The goal of the project was to test low-level flying with sensors to improve aircraft stability. During the testing, Wing Commander Kabir lost his life, and Arjun had a tough time coping with the loss. He continued to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and often the near-death experience woke him up in the middle of the night. At the very beginning of Operation Valentine, it was established that no matter the trauma Arjun had to live through, he continued to be the best at his job. When test pilot Yash Sharma crashed his aircraft due to hydraulic failure, Arjun risked his life to save Yash. He was driven by emotions, but his dedication to the job made him the most trustworthy candidate for important missions.

Aahna and Arjun had been deeply in love for the past few years, but Arjun’s selflessness often left Aahna worried. After surviving a deadly crash, she feared having to lose him. The mention of Project Vajra left her bitter, and when the chief engineer of Project Vajra, Dhruv, showed her a report of how the mistakes made in the planning could be improved, she chose to keep the details away from Arjun. Later on, in Operation Valentine, Arjun and Dhruv discussed the new development of Project Vajra. It was followed by an argument between Arjun and Aahna, where she expressed that the development was unreliable, but Arjun was willing to take the risk because he could end up saving lives. During the final moment of the film, Project Vajra played a key role in tackling the enemy and emerging victorious.

How did the Indian Air Force retaliate after the terrorist attack?

Before the terrorist attack, the Pakistani Air Force strategically blocked the Indian test pilots to keep them distracted while the blast was carried out as planned. Arjun was flying when he witnessed the blast of the military convoy, and he was determined to punish the ones responsible for it. There was no way to confirm that it was an aerial attack, and Aahna repeatedly instructed him from the ground to engage with the Pakistani Air Force. She believed that one wrong step from their side could aggravate the situation and lead to a blast. Aahna instructed Arjun to head to the blast site and provide assistance, but his rage was beyond his control. He continued to charge and was determined to shoot missiles at the enemy aircraft, but before he took such a drastic step, his senior, Bakshi, ordered him to stand down, and he finally came to his senses.

The attack was followed by the Pakistani government denying their involvement in it and the Indian government planning a way to fight the terrorist invasion of Kashmir. A tactical move that would scare off the terrorists was the need of the hour. The airstrike was a secret operation to terminate the Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammed camp. A handful of fighter pilots were selected to destroy the camp at Shaikdhara and neutralize the threat. The plan was to enter through Jhelum to avoid radar detection. In Operation Valentine, the lethal missiles were meant to be dropped at the enemy camp to destroy targets. Luckily, no one raised an alarm when the Indian fighter jets entered Pakistani airspace. The attack was unexpected, and therefore there was a lack of strict vigilance. The situation got critical when Pakistani fighters approached Arjun and his team. With only a minute to tackle the threat, Arjun had to come up with a strategic decision. If he flew too high, he would be exposed, and it would be extremely risky. The only option was to drop the missiles on the target as quickly as possible.

Operation Valentine was a success, with the enemy camp being destroyed. The enemy fighter jets tailed Arjun and his team after the strike, and he was all the more concerned when they stopped following him. He realized that the enemy had successfully gotten him closer to the surface-to-air missile, and the missiles were launched by the time Arjun figured out the move. Arjun advised his entire team to head to Indian airspace while he returned to Pakistan. Arjun planned to divert the missiles, but he was unsuccessful in doing so. A second round of SAMs was approaching, and just when Arjun was losing hope, his team returned to help him navigate the situation. Arjun and his team successfully diverted the missiles, and they returned to Indian airspace.

What was Operation Nehru?

The Pakistani government was determined to retaliate after the attack on the camp. They believed India had granted them the perfect opportunity to react aggressively. India prepared to face their enemy, knowing that after the airstrike there would be a comeback. Fighters were spotted heading to Kashmir and Punjab. What seemed to be just two aircraft turned out to be a front, and many more fighters approached the Indian border. The Pakistani fighters were instructed to turn around, but clearly, that was not their goal. A jammer came in handy to block the threat of the Pakistani missiles for some time, but it was not enough. They planned on executing Operation Nehru, and seeing the volume of fighter jets entering the Indian Airspace, Aahna figured out that the Pakistani Air Force planned on attacking the Jawahar Tunnel. It became evident that they planned to cut Kashmir off from the rest of India by destroying the tunnel. Once cut off, the militants would take over Kashmir, or at least that was their plan. With only five minutes to tackle the bomber plans approaching the border, Aahna instructed the squadron to gather.

At the end of Operation Valentine, Arjun announced that a single fighter was enough to handle the threat, and he reminded Aahna of Project Vajra. He believed that it was worth taking the risk if he could save lives. Arjun became all the more aggressive about his decision when Yash’s aircraft caught fire and it came to a crash. Flying close to the ground, Arjun was taking immense risks, but it paid off when he became untraceable on the radar. The Pakistani fighters shot at him from above, but due to a lack of visibility, they missed their targets. As the Pakistani fighters approached the Jawaharlal Nehru tunnel, Aahna felt completely hopeless, but Arjun believed they could still manage to overcome the situation. Arjun planned to attack the fighters before they could cause any harm. He successfully took down the fighter approaching the tunnel, and the bombs thankfully missed the target.

Did Arjun survive?

Soon after destroying the enemy jet, Arjun was about to crash, but he managed to handle the situation bravely. Aahna was on the verge of tears, fearing that it was the last she would ever hear of her lover. When Arjun connected back to the operations room, Aahna finally breathed an air of relief. The entire room celebrated the success of the entire squadron, particularly Arjun Dev, whose belief in himself and determination to protect his country at all costs helped eliminate the threat. Arjun believed that risks were worth taking if they meant he could protect the lives of thousands more. Even though Aahna did not always agree with his opinion, he did come out of it victorious.

What happened to Yash Sharma?

When Yash Sharma’s aircraft came to a crash, it was assumed that he did not survive the fall. But the ending of the film, confirmed that Yash survived the crash. His tracker was activated, but unfortunately, his aircraft had crashed in Pakistan. The Prime Minister of India declared that if Pakistan wanted peace, they must return Yash Sharma, and if they failed to return him by the next day, India would not be afraid to take action, and the Indian Air Force was granted complete freedom to act accordingly. The Pakistani government had no choice but to agree with the offer. They had failed twice, and they were not in a position to keep the negotiation going.

During Operation Valentine‘s ending, we learn that Yash Sharma has returned to India. He was welcomed home and celebrated as one of the heroes who dedicated their lives for the sake of their countrymen.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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