Movie Review – Airlift
Few Bollywood movies have tried to shed light on real life incidents which are usually untold. Airlift weaves the thriller Drama of a story of over 1.70 lakhs helpless Indians who were stranded in Kuwait when it was attacked by Iraq. A few local businessmen and Indian diplomats took on the uphill task of bringing those people home safely. The film pays a tribute to all those Indians who had faced tough times throughout the whole evacuation mission and also to Air India for administering the Airlift mission successfully during Kuwait-Iraq war in 1990. Director, Raja Menon captures not only the essence of the thriller but the whole upright emotions of every Indian amidst humanity. He tries to maintain the same momentum throughout the film.
Airlift sets the story of a brave and benevolent man, Ranjit Katiyal who had masterminded the evacuation of 1.70 lakhs helpless Indians stranded in Kuwait in August 1990 when Saddam Hussain’s army decided to take over. It took 488 Air India and Indian Airlines to get every one of those Indians home. Ranjit Katiyal did not singlehandedly deployed them safely to India but, a government official, Sanjiv Kohli who had actually given ear to all those penniless Indians and Katiyal’s untiring efforts, Ibrahim who had helped Katiyal in each of his step and few of Katiyal’s friends. They formed a team.
Akshay Kumar just nailed it. He steals the whole plot. As a shrewd businessman, Akshay as Ranjit Katiyal was at high fortitude. He doesn’t let his grip loose any time in each frame. Akshay’s one of the career best performance. The way he led the whole evacuation mission and the character’s transformation from audacious businessman to heroic as messiah to Indians residing in Kuwait are remarkable and compelling. His better half on screen, Nimrat Kaur as Amrita Katyal was one of the significant sidelines, though slightly built. She has a lot of potentials. Prakash Belawadi as the irritable refugee is a standout. Inaamulhaq as Major Khalaf bin Zayd is definitely appreciative. His characterization integrity as deceitful and a bit weird accent is critically applauding. Purab Kohli portraying Ibrahim in the film is also one the characters audience rooted for. His restrained and intense performance is very good. Kumud Mishra as Sanjeev Kohli is one of the best performances as well as an important character in the film. His character proved to be a model of rectitude as a joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. The whole ensemble proved to be a great support.
The USP of the film is the gritty and bold screenplay. An edge-of-the-seat plot and striking writing have made the film an impactful drama. It doesn’t seem at all to be putting a strain on each frame as well as the plot. But, the last bit of the film looks hurried. The whole airlift sequence needs more screen time. The rest of the departments are very masterful. Be it narrative music, the locations and backdrops have an authentic feel and the cinematography is first rate especially the aerial shots. The editing is very smooth flowing taking the whole film on a medium pace.
Airlift beautifully sketches the largest evacuation in the world. It’s a tale of unparalleled courage and unsung heroes. The film has an element patriotic sentiment which makes it a heart-stopping thriller is highly appreciable and the audience has its say. The film, the director and the whole cast and crew genuinely desires a standing ovation. Airlift is un-miss-able.