Exactly a year later, Akshay Kumar is back venturing into foreign affairs. January 2015 saw him as a secret agent in Baby. And this year we find him saving 1,70,000 Indians with Airlift. Based on the real-life story of the evacuation of more than a hundred thousand Indians from Jordan airport (1081 km from Kuwait) in 1990, this film already has the much-required curiosity around it.
A factually true film has a responsibility on its shoulders. Further, the success depends on the way it keeps the viewer wanting to watch the same even though there is a predictable factor involved. Airlift is about Iraq invading Kuwait and creating havoc in the country. How amidst the bombs, firing and 16-year Iraqi soldiers who appear as they are there to have fun, Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) and the other NRIs manage to protect themselves and return to their motherland. (‘chot lagti hai toh sab ma ma hi karte hain’). The 124 minutes ends with you giving a standing ovation to India for the heroic mission it took.
WATCH IT FOR
- Before the positives of the film, the fact that it released on 22nd January is the best step by Airlift distributors. Four days before the Republic Day, it arouses patriotism in every Indian citizen. The trailers were compelling enough for the audience to go watch the film in the Republic week.
- Because we know at least one Akshay film every year is the motivational, inspirational one. Pure cinema minus the masalaness of Bollywood. You are sure to get goose bumps sitting in the cinema hall.
- This Akki film is a bit different for the female protagonist of the film as well. Initially, it does appear that she is like the sidelined Bollywood heroine, but her monologue in the second half of the film is worth a round of applause. Showing the reality to George as he blames Ranjit, Nimrat shines as Amrita. The other actors in the film make their mark as well. The cantankerous George (you last this actor as the CBI chief in Talvar), the other affluent NRIs of Kuwait, the government official, the silent Ibrahim (whose eyes do the talking) and the Iraqi Major. You remember all these characters long after the film finishes. They are normal human beings with shades of grey.
- The emotion, which the entire episode has deep down, is conveyed perfectly by Raja Menon’s direction. Be it the wide shots of the deserts or the slow motion shots, the film keeps you glued to the seats. It makes you cry while the soldiers show their brutality and makes you feel as helpless as Katiyal himself when Tipu Sultan is stopped. And if you have been in an almost close situation, not a war situation, but even a situation with guns on your head, you just have that extra empathy for those Indians who managed to come back from that mental, physical and emotional turmoil.
- Amaal Malik and Ankit Tiwari’s music is both soulful and peppy. But then the addition of dance and song sequences in this film looks a bit haywire.
- The External Affairs minister is portrayed as uninterested in even hearing the plight of the people. But if some facts are to be believed, then Foreign Minister I.K.Gujral did meet Saddam Hussein to help in the evacuation.
Watch Airlift for knowing what India did for those NRIs who probably never considered India their own. Watch it for the fact that Indian history has forgotten real life heroes who rise to the necessities of the situation and became Messiahs for many. Watch it for the record evacuation funded by the Finance Ministry and undertaken by Air India and Indian Airlines. Watch it for the pilots who decided to take the risk of flying civilian planes in a war zone. Watch it for more than 1,00,000 people who found a ray of hope in being together and being Indians in the foreign land. Watch it for India and the love you have for it.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.