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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Oscar for Shahid!

Hiren Kotwani, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 16, 2011
First Published: 13:58 IST(16/2/2011) | Last Updated: 14:03 IST(16/2/2011)

Recently, we told you about Shahid Kapoor flying an F-16 In Super Viper at the Aero India show in Bengaluru to experience what an Air Force pilot goes through while jetsetting at speeds faster than sound. However, it turns out that there was more to just flying one of the most advanced fighter planes with Operation Desert Storm veteran, Retd US Navy Commander, Paul Randell, for our actor.

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We later learnt that Oscar (Shahid’s call name) had to participate in a mission, which was an important part of his big flight on Saturday. Interestingly, the F-16 pilots train in a very precise manner, a source informed us. “They never just fly for practice, but always take off with a mission as part of their training sessions,” reveals our informer, adding that no exceptions were made for Kapoor when he got into the F-16 with Randell. The actor plays an air force pilot in his father Pankaj Kapoor’s Mausam.

Much to his surprise, the mission involved a routine called ‘dogfight’, ground attacks and even air-to-air engagements. Soon after Kapoor took off in his fighter jet, he was accompanied by another F-16, which was to assist him on the mission. The other pilot also managed to snap real-time photographs of the actor in mid-air. Kapoor, obviously unable to contain his excitement over the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, says, “To fly an F-16 was an awesome experience. I had never imagined being part of such an extensive mission, forget flying such an advanced fighter plane. Bear (Randell’s call name) was an extremely cool teacher. He let me learn on my own and also let me maneuver the plane.”

No less thrilled is Sheetal Talwar, MD Vistar Religare Film Fund, which is producing Mausam in association with Eros International and was the initiator of Kapoor’s big flight plan. “The guys at Lockheed Martin were keen for Shahid to experience flying the advanced fighter plane, just like a professional fighter pilot. Not only were they extremely cooperative, but they also ensured that he had a truly invaluable flight.”

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