Did you know that India has in credit to do the biggest airlift ever? Yes, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Indian government with the assistance of the NRI Mathunny Matthews and Harbhajan Singh Vedi was able to successfully evacuate the Indians out of the terrorized country through the military aircraft. Sadly, the news reports of this truly amazing event were reduced to extra news in the newspapers and was easily forgotten by the masses.
And to make that glorious memory from the human history fresh yet again, after 26 years has released 'Airlift' directed by Raja Krishna Menon and it stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur in the lead roles. The film is actually a one-man show, with Akshay Kumar playing Rajesh Katyal, a character who is fictional but inspired by the great work of Mathunny and Harbhajan collectively.
And he truly lifts off the screen with his on-screen presence. Seasoned and soaked in the truly patriotic character of Rakesh, Kumar truly lifts off the screen. His performance in the film is easily the actor's most mature performance as an actor. Not only his performance highly refined, it sucks in all the aspects of the character of the Kuwait NRI- with love for his nation, and with care for his family.
In my opinion, Akshay's character- an actually well written performance it certainly is- not only acknowledges the works of the businessmen, but it is also a special performance on the note that it encapsulates the right amount of patriotic charge the film needed. It has been said that every man has twin obligations, one for his family and the other for his society. The film is true mainstream cinema, in which Rajesh, the lead, is a perfect amalgamation of both these obligations. The film also explores the romantic Rajesh in one of its songs 'Dil cheez tujhe de di', and also the vulnerable Rajesh in many portions of the film. Nimrat Kaur, although coming with on-point styling and clumsily written sequences, is enough moving.
The film's final acts, which are also when you are going to predict the film, easily the most goosebump-rousing ones. The airlifting of those 1.7 lakh Indians truly makes YOU soar as an Indian.
But the film has, although in well less amount, the same problem as Raja Krishna Menon's 2009 outing 'Baarah Aana', that the film packs its themes more than its layers, and that squeezes the entertainment that he offers.
But, on the whole, Airlift is an important story well told despite many flaws. I am going with 7 out of 10 for the amazingly directed 'Airlift', but an additional 1 star for Akshay's performance lifts it to an 8 out of 10. You should watch it. We've already got one of the best Hindi films of the year, already.
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.
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!!!
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
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.
There is a lot being written and read about Akshay Kumar in the media lately. This film is a standing testament that he deserves that.
India-born Kuwaiti businessman Ranjit (Kumar) finds his whole world turn upside down after he is caught unawares in the middle of cranky Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Already frantic enough to manage his own three-member family's escape to India, Ranjit finds that a mass of Indians, with no one else to turn to, is pulling at his sleeve for help. The story is basically about his, his family's, and his fellow compatriots' struggle to leave the warzone amid rising tension from all sides.
The story is told rather nicely, minimizing the bloodshed but staying realistic at the same time. It's no doubt an extraordinary tale, and the writers manage to make it gripping, and even jaw-dropping at one, maybe two, instances. Of course, the exodus story is too good to be true, but when you KNOW that it is truly based on a real life event and few hearts did beat for almost a quarter million people's rescue mission, you automatically get the idea, and begin to realize the importance of telling such a story.
It talks about one man's painstaking struggle as he reaches astronomical altruism with his bare hands, putting his own life on the warpath. It also talks about India's snail-paced bureaucracy, and how babus are the best benchwarmers in the country. However, a lot of essential minutiae were left out in the screenplay which makes the whole story look too incomprehensible for someone who hates history or who wasn't reading the news in 1990. Lot of questions are left unanswered, which if were at least attempted to answer, could have saved the audience from being in the dark. But still, the photography and production set supports in evincing the sheer madness that presumably engulfed our protagonist. (There is also a sly comment on the intolerance issue currently grappling India if you are attentive.)
The film, unfortunately for enthusiasts like us, looks like it has gone through the Bollywood machine. I say this because you will see random, totally unnecessary songs playing out throughout the film. And Ranjit also shakes a leg in one or two, the only time we get to se his pearl whites. Plus, the attempt at infusing wry humor at certain parts totally messes up with those parts of the flow. Kumar is brilliant as I have mentioned, and is well supported by Kaur and other cast members. Really happy to see Malayalam film star Lena in a role.
BOTTOM LINE: Raja Menon's tense war drama, Airlift, is definitely a well-made thriller which will make you feel good about your country this Republic Day, but at the end, the question still creeps in: how much has changed in 25 years?
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES
The first thing you notice about Airlift is that Akshay Kumar no longer plays the role of a buffoon.
His career has always been a study in contrasts – from juvenile mediocrity like Housefull to hard-hitting, edge-of-the-seat drama like Special 26, no actor in Bollywood has entertained (and disappointed) us quite as frequently as Akshay has.
As Ranjit Katyal, a wealthy businessman who dons the hat of saviour during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, however, Akshay delivers a career-best performance.
Director Raja Krishna Menon’s new film throws the Middle Eastern crisis of 1990 and the geopolitical dynamics that surround it into sharp relief, following a narrative template that largely mimics that of Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning masterpiece, “Argo”.
Shops are ransacked, proud skyscrapers are razed to the ground and innocent citizens are ruthlessly murdered in cold blood, and all these take place in broad daylight.
Predictable, it falls to our hero to orchestrate what turns out to be the largest civilian evacuation in modern-day history.
While the storyline and its execution is predictably routine, where Airlift succeeds is in creating a claustrophic, nerve-racking atmosphere that will leave you gasping on the edge of your seat.
The acting is uniformly good throughout the film, save for Inaamul Haq’s ridiculously over-the-top performance as an Iraqi war general that wouldn’t have seemed so out of place in a B-grade Sajid Khan comedy. His pseudo-Arabic accent gets on your nerves every single time he appears on the screen and is by far the film’s biggest weakness.
Menon also needlessly injects random songs into the screenplay that not only disrupt the film’s narrative flow but also amply demonstrate the need for greater subtlety in Indian filmmaking.
Akshay’s terrific performance, however, makes up for many of this film’s weaknesses.
Airlift is a film that attempts to reach stratospheric levels of perfection.
As things stand, though, it just about manages to take off, and that it does well.
Airlift is a 2 hours intricate anecdote based on the biggest evacuation of Indians in Kuwait during the Iraq Kuwait war which took place in 1990.The story is about a man Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar), a big businessmen of Kuwait who saves the lives of 1, 70,000 Indians and repatriates them to India in the invasion which took place between Iraq and Kuwait in 1990. Akshay Kumar was irreproachable as Ranjit Katyal, he easily managed to captivate the interest and had a personable appearance. Other co actors were fairly good in acting and were pleading enough in appearances. The music was of a tremendous quality. Song Dil cheez tujhe dedi was stupendously choreographed and deserves a solid 4 from me. Soch na sake can’t be judged as it was completely enjoyable. Raja Krishna Menon did a phenomenal direction job, he not only presented a good screenplay but was also able to enthral. In the oeuvre of Akshay Kumar Airlift is one of his salient and perspicuous work. Airlift becomes a bit snappy in some portions of songs. 2nd half would be more substantive than the first one but still it remains aesthetic and a startling spine chiller. 3 stars from me.
After Baby Akshay Kumar is back again with his new thriller. Akshay Kumar was just awesome.
After watching this you will feel happy , sad and proud at the same time!
Happy that the movie will leap forward towards the content of bollywood!
Sad for the Akshay kumar that despite being a extra ordinary actor he waste his energy in less important movies every year.
Proud because.. Well you know what I mean!!
A must watch!!
A story must to be spread #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.
Akshay kumar top class acting...superb movie.
It will make you sit through it entirely with its simple and straight storytelling!!
One of the finest and awesomest movie i have ever seen..
What A Wonderful Movie Airlift. 10 out 10 no doubt. What A acting By Akshay Kumar.