Airlift


Airlift’ is a patriotic thriller film directed by Raja Krishna Menon. It stars Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Purab Kohli, Prakash Belwadi, Kumud Mishra and Inaam-ul-haq.

‘Airlift’ is based on true events of based on history’s biggest human evacuation during the Gulf war in 1990. When Iragi army attacked Kuwait that year, over 1, 70, 000 Indians were stranded in the country. A few Indian-origin businessmen and diplomats under took the daunting task of rescuing those people from the war-torn country and bringing them home. Raja Krishna Menon' tells this tale of heroism, courage, patriotism, and a lot more through ‘Airlift’.

Two Indian expatriates Mr Matthews and Mr Vedi who engineered this rescue mission are the inspiration behind Rajit Katyal's character in the movie.

Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar) is a shrewd businessman and knows nothing but profit and money. Despite being Indian, he detests being called an Indian and hates Hindi film music and prefers Arabic tunes. His wife Amrita (Nimrat Kaur) doesn’t like that her husband has forgotten his roots but their love for daughter Simu has kept them together.

It is August 1, 1990 and Ranjit has just closed a few deals and purchased a sought-after property and is celebrating his success. The very night Iraqi president Saddam Hussein attacks the oil-rich country and a war is unleashed. The government of Kuwait deserts the City. The Iragi forces create havoc, people are shot in the streets, houses looted, buildings blown up and army tanks and choppers have taken over the city. Ranjit’s world turns upside down over night and realises that his only saviour is his Indian Identity. He goes to the Indian Embassy to try and fly out of the war zone. He even gets a chance when Iraqi Major Khalaf Bin Zayd (Inaam-ul-haq) gives him an opportunity to leave with his wife and daughter. But, after seeing all the destruction around him, Ranjit’s patriotic and humane side awakens and he decides to help the over a lakh and a half Indians stranded in Kuwait, including his family and employees, get back to the safety of their homeland. With the help of bureaucrat Sanjeev Kohli (Kumud Mishra), he organises the biggest civilian evacuation of all time.

‘Airlift’ is an engaging film and is well shot with Middle Eastern detailing. The war-torn cityscape is impressively captured. It is a well executed film with taut editing and well-written dialogues and characters. There are some intense scenes too. The songs, however, seems to slow down the movie. Given the plot, there could have been more nail-biting moments.

Akshay Kumar gives one of his best performances as a powerful man who turns helpless overnight. Nimrat stands out especially when she gives an earful to the cynical Gorge (Prakash Belwadi) who keeps questioning the motives of her husband. Kumud Mishra too gives a powerful performance in his brief role. Purab too has been brilliant in his support role of a Kuwaiti who is grieving the death of his newly wedded wife. Inaam-ul-haq also looks menacing, but his character as antagonist is not strong enough.

‘Airlift’ is based on true events but is not properly documented and many Indians do not know much about the rescue operation. And this works in the movie’s favour. ‘Airlift’ is a gripping and patriotic film which is a must watch.