Login to TheReviewMonk


Airlift Poster

Critic Rating


41 Reviews
31 Ratings
in favor

Audience Rating

14 Reviews
42 Ratings

Movie Info

Running Time




Airlift is a Hindi human drama film based on the backdrop of the Gulf War in 1990 which happened in Kuwait.Wikipedia

Airlift Reviews


The occasional speed bumps aside, there are many moments that soar. Raja Menon turns an important story into a compelling film. Don’t miss it.

Shubhra Gupta
Indian Express


‘Airlift’ plays it right, and gives us drama, even if things slow down and turn a trifle repetitious post interval. But overall, ‘Airlift’ is a good film, solidly plotted, well executed and well-acted.

Raja Sen


Airlift is compelling, thanks largely to a sterling performance from Akshay Kumar -- who is both suitably weary and suitably level-headed for the part -- enough to anchor the proceedings. The actor is always fine when reined in, and Menon plays to his strengths and Kumar only snaps once, almost reflexively, into Bollywood hero mode, but he is mostly calm and grown-up and holding on.

Sweta Kaushal
Hindustan Times


Turbulence aside, Airlift is an engaging movie that keeps it real, emotional and dramatic.

Reviewer Profile
Deccan Chronicle


The first half of the film moves smoothly but the hasty evacuation towards the end makes the story lose grip.This was a story waiting to be told, and it has been.

Airlift is a film that every Indian, and every Bollywood buff despairing for genuinely high quality storytelling, must watch.

Srijana Mitra Das
Times Of India


Airlift works because it conveys a time when armies will attack civilians - you're struck by how IS was born from the Iraqi army's core - and raises Bollywood's generic bar. Plus, it movingly celebrates the most beautiful flag in the world.

The sight of the tricolor unfurling before the victorious hero is one that has characterised many a Bollywood movie. And yet, very few manage to evoke genuine emotion even after resorting to lofty dialogue and (ear-shattering) patriotic background music.But in Raja Krishna Menon’s “Airlift”, that moment is beautifully captured.

Sarita Tanwar
DNA India


A spirited effort and Akshay Kumar’s performance are the high points of Airlift.


Airlift is the story of unparalleled courage and unsung heroes. From unknown names in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi to people who had their Indianness rearing its head from within just when it was required, Airlift is un-miss-able. Go watch it.

Airlift is definitely a one-time watch since it is a story of an unsung hero and also India’s proud moment. Akshay Kumar certainly gives an impressive performance...

...is a classic film based on a real life incident that is told extremely well on screen. It is surely one of the best films to come out this year and will pick up with a strong word of mouth. Just do not miss this one!

It takes craft to weave a cohesive narrative that aptly renders the magnitude of this civilian extraction. There isn’t edge-of-the-seat drama all the time but there’s a human element that tugs at your heart.Menon strikes a fine balance – the conflict and the resolution and the intervening period is skillfully handled.


Akshay Kumar, in a departure from brain dead comedies, brings to life a man who must let go of his arrogance to fight a battle where rules change by the minute. It’s Akshay’s most honest portrayal till date, where he lets his eyes and silences do the talking.


After BABY, Akshay Kumar delivers yet another thriller with deadpan calm. Here too, a flight takes off at the end, but there's no drama at the take-off like in Neeraj Pandey's film.

Suprateek Chatterjee


It is several steps ahead of Kumar’s other recent January releases, Baby (2015) and Special 26 (2013), and deserves all the box-office it can get. The bar has been raised and it’s about bloody time.

Audience Reviews for Airlift

  • Prashast Singh
    Prashast Singh
    34 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    Excellent gift for all Indians and cinema lovers...

    It's a true fact that we Indians love our heroes and protectors, who spend their lives for us, and when we see a film related to them, we all like those films and start to have a respect for the makers. Akshay Kumar's patriotic action thriller AIRLIFT too is a film which showcases not just the pride in being Indian, but also that in being a true HUMAN.

    Akshay Kumar starrer AIRLIFT is based on a true story, which might be the biggest reasons why this film succeeds in connecting with the viewers. Akshay's performance and portrayal of a man struck by patriotism is simply outstanding. If you believe me, let me tell you that when Akshay got emotional on screen, I too had tears in eyes. Nimrat Kaur has a good role and she portrays it well; the role is not like a regular heroine in movies. Other actors do a great job and add flavor and color to the film.

    Coming to the music, I hadn't heard it before. I watched it only on the big screen. There aren't much songs, but the ones that are there, make their way to the shelves of music buffs. The background score of the film is good and keeps you involved in. The dialogues oozing patriotism are simply to say, superb.

    The technical aspects, as every war film has, are top notch and well executed. The action scenes are well choreographed, executed and filmed, and are quite realistic. The cinematography is brilliantly done with and filming locations are quite adorable. The editing is crisp and the film keeps you hooked till the end. The best thing I liked was the director's way of placing the intermission point. You don't have an idea that it would be an intermission signalling for. But, I meant that I liked every single frame of this film. There was nothing to dislike at all.

    Another thing to mention is that AIRLIFT is a film which has a strong appeal not only for those who love their country and realistic movies, but also for the audiences who want to take home something they love in a film. In this film, there's not only one portion to take home: You can take the entire film home. I liked the film so much that I think of adding it to my video library soon after it releases on DVD. Besides, despite of a UA certificate, the film is family friendly and can be watched with the family, and rather, the country.

    To sum up, AIRLIFT is the finest film that has come this year, and has all the strength to become a major and notable success. Since I watched the film today on the occasion of Republic Day, as I was willing to, I would love to conclude with following lines: AIRLIFT : "SUCH A PRECIOUS AND LOVELY GIFT, WILL MAKE THE BAR OF INDIAN FILMS LIFT".

    Anything else, oh yes, I forgot to say that. JAI HIND.

    July 17, 17
  • Midhun Ben Thomas (Dilseben)
    Midhun Ben Thomas (Dilseben)
    160 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    "Lifts the spirit among the audience!!!"

    Almost a month into 2016 & Bollywood already had a big release in "Wazir" which bit the dust for obvious reasons. However, one of the movies that I was most eagerly looking forward to this year was Akshay's "Airlift" which hit the screens yesterday. Based on the evacuation of about 1.7 lakh Indians who were stranded in Kuwait during the Gulf War, it made sense to release it just days before our 67th Republic Day. More often than not, real life events have been portrayed dismally on celluloid as the makers tends to inject an over-dosage of heroism & patriotism. So did Raja Menon repeat the same mistake???

    The film unfolds a day prior to the Iraqi invasion with Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar) shown as a wealthy Indian business magnate who has significant influence over the Kuwait royal clan. However, all hell breaks loose when Saddam takes over Kuwait & all the expatriates are stranded as the embassies gets locked down. Even though Ranjit manages to secure a safe passage for his family out of the country for a hefty sum, the predicament of his less fortunate Indian brethren makes him to think about them as well. What subsequently follows is Ranjit's efforts to somehow get the expatriates back to India against all odds.

    It might sound surprising but it seems Raja Menon's directorial debut "Bas Yun Hi" happened more than a decade back & this is in fact his third venture. As mentioned earlier, the inspiration for this movie was the massive evacuation orchestrated by the Indian government in collaboration with Air India which actually finds a mention in the Guinness Book as well. The biggest positive is that Raja doesnt make his protagonist do super human stuff but still manages to captivate the audience with the events that unfold. But I felt the second half could have been a bit more gripping as it didnt quite have the sequences which could have given the edge of the seat experience as felt in the climax of "Argo". On the technical side, Priya Seth's visuals were praise worthy while Hemanti Sarkar's editing were adequate. As for the music, Ankit Tiwari has done a reasonable job though at times it hindered the flow of the movie.

    In the past few years, Akshay has come out with movies which was inspired from real life events be it "Special 26" or "Baby" in both of which he had rocked. Even in his latest release, he was brilliant as the protagonist who exhibits a range of emotions with elan from being the flamboyant profit seeking businessman to the reluctant leader of the expatriates & he is surely the heart and soul of the movie. After "Lunchbox", Nimrat Kaur is in mainstream cinema for a change & have done a reasonably decent job though the idea of being quite decked up with ample make-up in such harrowing situations didn't make sense. However, the sequence where she stands up for her husband & delivers a smashing dialogue was awesome. As for the rest of the cast, Kumud Mishra was impressive, Prakash Belawadi as the irritating Georgekutty was bang on while Purab Kohli, Inaamulhaq, Lena etc all needs to be commended on a job well done.

    Verdict: In all probability, the film should rack in pretty good numbers as the word of mouth will definitely work in its favour. But knowing the general response of the Bollywood audience, it wont make as much noise at the box office as the mindless masala movies. Anywaz it truly deserves eyeballs & I would suggest that all of you guys to definitely check it out!!!

    Rating: 3.25/5


    September 16, 16
  • Saheb Abdullah
    Saheb Abdullah
    82 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    Very Good Movie, Having Some Hard To Ignore Flaws

    Unnecessary Songs & Over Dramatic Patriotic Sequences Ruins The Mood In Parts But Overall It Is A Well Made, Well Acted Movie, Which Brings The Lesser Known Story

    May 01, 16
  • Bindu Cherungath
    Bindu Cherungath
    126 reviews
    Top Reviewer

    Review of Airlift

    Airlift, a film by Raja Krishna Menon (his last film was Barah Aana in 2009), is based on the largest civilian evacuation operation carried out in the history of mankind during Iraq-Kuwait War. This evacuation has found a space in Guinness Book of World Records. Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2nd August, 1990. Just to explain the background of this war, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was in debt of US $80 billion because of the long-drawn Iran conflict that it had undertaken. Iraq wanted Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and specially Kuwait, to reduce oil production to create a scarcity of oil, so that oil prices could have been increased. This could have enabled Iraq raise more money. But, when both OPEC and Kuwait refused, Iraq became so furious that they attacked Kuwait and Iraqi Army seized the whole Kuwait within few hours. Most of the Royal Kuwaiti families fled to Saudi Arabia overnight leaving the country rudderless. Kuwait was home to approximately 1,70,000 Indians. All of them had lost whatever they had, be it their home, money etc. Some of the Indian businessmen formed a group who ensured that the evacuation of these Indians is done successfully. Raja Krishna Menon’s Airlift is the story of these evacuation events. In the film, the protagonist Ranjit Katyal’s character is developed on the basis of real incidents faced by the group of businessmen who became instrumental in these hugely successful evacuation efforts. It is also mentioned that the real Ranjit Katyal (name changed in the film) is alive and a great businessman in Kuwait. The logistics for Indians to reach Amman were arranged first. Evacuation was carried out during 13th August, 1990 – 11th October, 1990 i.e. for 59 days, with 488 flights (Air India, Indian Airlines and Air Force flights). Raja Krishna Menon’s Airlift is a tribute to the human spirits which finds path even amidst turbulence, gears up courage in spite of losing everything.

    Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) is a shrewd businessman, for whom, the profit means everything. He is shown to be effortlessly cracking deals with Sheikhs. He is mostly cynical about India, prefers Arabic songs over Hindi songs and takes pride in calling himself a Kuwaiti. After a success bash for grabbing a big project, the news comes to Ranjit in regard to Iraqi army capturing Kuwait. Frantically trying for help from officials, and realizing that the officials have left the country, he understands that he and his family are also not safe like any other person. Amrita Katyal (Nimrat Kaur) is also particular that Ranjit takes care of her and daughter. On his way to seek help, he sees the kind of violence happening, his driver Nair was shot dead. Kuwaitis were killed mercilessly. He was taken to Iraqi Major Khalaf Bin Zayd (Inaam-ul-haq), who warns him subtly to mind his own business rather being a savior. The transformation of Ranjit is shown in a natural manner. Unknowingly, he turns out to the hope of his employees, and other Indians as well. Ranjit sets up a refugee camp to feed all these Indians.

    Refugee camp becomes the witness of so many emotions: be it frustration, disappointments, grief, or even the hope, anxiety. Cast and community issues are also covered. Even amidst crisis, man like George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi) is shown, who has issues with each and every thing, be it cleanliness of washrooms, or claiming his own space etc. Ibrahim Durrani (Purab Kohli), aide to Ranjit Katyal, is an example of man, who keeps working for the cause, in spite of his personal loss, whose wife was missing.

    Raja Krishna Menon has brilliantly executed the whole set of events, right from the Iraqi attack to brutal massacre of Kuwaitis to the evacuation of 1,70,000 Indians. Research of Raja in regard to the events reflects in this well-crafted film. The one aspect which was not very convincing was that there was only one officer in the Minister of External Affairs- Sanjeev Kohli (Kumud Mishra), who keeps convincing Indian administration to send help for the stranded Indians in Kuwait. But definitely Kumud Mishra stood apart as a great actor in his role. His persistence is commendable.

    Akshay Kumar has proved over the years that he can effortlessly play such roles. He is so natural in Ranjit’s character. It is a delight to watch him. Credit also goes to Raja and his team for shaping up Ranjit’s character in a natural manner. He is not projected as a hero, but he is projected as a normal human being, who just thinks of his family, business, and profits, but in the moment of crisis, grows beyond his own self-interest, and turns out to be saviour for 1,70,000 Indians.

    Nimrat Kaur was excellent in ‘The Lunchbox’. So, definitely, expectations from her were also high. Nimrat did not have much to do in the film. Her potential could have been explored more.

    Inaam-ul-haq plays the role of Major Khalaf Bin Zayd very well. Different cast who formed the part of the refugee Indians did play their roles wonderfully.

    A few scenes which touched my heart: Sanjeev Kohli’s father, who was a partition refugee, shares with him that how painful it was to leave everything behind in Lahore, and what the loss of homeland could mean to an individual. Another scene - Amrita Katyal’s confrontation with one of the Indian in the refugee camp George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi). Amrita is generally shown to be not-so-happy with Ranjit’s decision to save Indians, but when the irritable George Kutty raised questions, she confronted George Kutty and stood with Ranjit. Of course the scene towards the end of the film, where Indian Flag captures the screen. There are a few other scenes, but not mentioning them here since those are to be watched on screen.

    The songs – ‘Tanu main itna pyar kara… Soch na sake…’(composed by Amaal Malik, sung by Arijit Singh) and ‘Tu Bhoola jise, tujhko vo yaad karta raha…’ (composed by Amaal Malik, sung by KK) are just awesome. Amaal Malik’s music is indeed very good. Ankit Tiwari has given music for ‘Dil Cheez tujhe…’.

    Many parts of the film are shot at Ras Al Khaima (UAE) which has been very nicely captured by Priya Seth’s cinematography.

    Raja Krishna Menon’s Airlift is a tribute to the human spirits which finds path even amidst turbulence, gears up courage in spite of losing everything. A must watch film which showcases one of the largest evacuation operation ever carried out in the history of mankind. Grand Salute to all those unsung heroes who were instrumental for this.

    January 23, 16