Director: Raja Krishna Menon
Producers: Hari Om Productions, Cape of Good Films, T-Series and Crouching Tiger Motion Pictures
Writers: Vijay Krishna Menon
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Kumud Mishra, Inamulhaq
Music: Amaal Malik and Ankit Tiwari
Genre: Drama/ Thrillers
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
Akshay Kumar was once known as the king of whacky comedies. But over the last couple of years, he has been associating himself with thought-provoking patriotic sagas like Holiday, Gabbar Is Back and Baby. He continues his impressive run with Airlift. To put it simply, it is an overwhelmingly brilliant piece of cinema, which lifts you in a way very few films can.
The story takes place in Kuwait in the year 1990. Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar), an NRI, is a shrewd businessman living a luxurious life with his wife Amrita (Nimrat Kaur) and a child. He considers himself a true Kuwaiti and hates being referred to as an Indian. But after Iraq, in the leadership of Saddam Hussain, invades Kuwait, life suddenly turns upside down for Rajiv and the 1 lakh 70 thousand ‘Indians’ working in the country.
Firstly, the makers should be lauded for throwing light on this unthinkable achievement of the biggest evacuation ever in the world! It is quite a shame that many of us are completely unaware of such a feat, but let’s not go into that for now.
But good intentions alone aren’t enough to make a good film. To say that Airlift has more than just good intentions will be an understatement since the film excels in every department. The script and Menon’s direction deserves special mention. In a situational-based film, the onus is more on the narration and presentation and one can find utmost precision in both departments. The result is a gripping narrative that doesn’t let you look at your watch throughout.
The biggest triumph for Airlift, however, is the profoundly heartwarming climax. It develops an intensely emotional patriotic feeling without any use of powerful dialogues or punch lines. The effect is the highest when visuals alone do the talking, is proven here. Plus, the final moments throw in quite a few messages, which, once again, aren’t spoken about.
There are a few weaklings though. Two important plot twists, one at the start and other at the end, aren’t explored the way they should have. Thankfully, these issues aren’t glaring at all.
The subject doesn’t offer much scope for music. But the tracks manage to impress. The ‘Vande Mataram’ song surely stands out and becomes an important reason for the climax triggering the desired effect.
There is some high quality work from the technical departments too – Priya Seth’s camerawork, background score, editing as well as production design.
Now, onto the performances. This is yet another film that proves that Akshay Kumar is no longer limited to being a superstar or an entertainer. He has now become a fine artist. The way in which he puts his heart into the character and his decision to select this film will increase the number of his admirers abundantly. This one is easily one of his best acts.
After The Lunchbox, Nimrat Kaur once again displays her talent. An actor like her surely deserves to be seen more. The same can be said about Inamulhaq (of Filmistaan fame), who is impressive as a comical Iraqi Major. Kumud Mishra once again succeeds in giving a mature act. There are convincing performances from a host of supporting actors – Purab Kohli, Prakash Belawadi, Ferena Wazeir and Ninad Kamat, to name a few.
Overall: Airlift is an overwhelming patriotic saga and one of Akshay Kumar’s best films. It has had a decent box-office opening by earning Rs 12.35 crore on its first day. But it depends on positive word-of-mouth to make a major impact at the box-office.