The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait , helmed by Saddam Hussein Regime way back in
1990’s is perhaps vivid in our memories till now. Airlift rewinds a real life incident
which is a forgotten history now- a massive and enormous rescue mission
encompassing the evacuation of close to 1,70,000 Indians stuck in Kuwait during
the Gulf War. It is recounted and narrated through the eyes of Ranjit Katyal ( Akshay
Kumar), a wealthy Indian business man in Kuwait ,who, along with a group of some
accomplices, undertakes the cudgels of this overwhelming mission to rescue the
indians from the clutches of Iraqi regime.
Ranjit Katiyal, a shrewd Indian businessman is leading a luxurious life with his
family, wife Amrita ( Nimrat) and young daughter Sonu . His life turns topsy turvy
when Iraq invades Kuwait, and overnight, he finds himself in middle of a life crisis
with the Iraqi forces running riot on the streets of Kuwait. Deserted by all his high
profile echelons, he decides to escape to London with his family. But he finds
himself on the cross roads when his loyal employees look up to their leader amidst
this catastrophe. His humane side tested, Katiyal decides to lead the stranded
Indians back home with safety.
Gritty and compelling, Airlift derives its biggest strength from its sheer authenticity.
The undercurrent of fear and uncertainty is remarkably defined throughout the film,
especially in the scenes where Kuwait is ripped apart by the monstrous Iraqi soldiers
and the helplessness of the stranded Indians inside the camp. Cinematography is top
notch and successfully captures the realistic fabric of the movie. But just when Airlift
seems to be on its route to a thrilling and captivating end, the writers fail to insert a
sense of urgency during its post intermission parts till the climax, which could have
otherwise lifted the film to an impeccable scale.
Yet, Airlift is inspired by some wonderful and endearing performances which lets you
overlook this minor blemish. Akshay leads the film with a terrific performance. The
actor effortlessly understates his heroic act and enmeshes endurance and honesty
flourishingly. Airlift proves yet again the calibre and talent of this wonderful actor.
He is ably supported by Nimrat Kaur, who despite initial hiccups, comes up
triumphs during the later parts of the film. Purab Kohli is effective in a brief role of a
Muslim Indian while Prakash Belavadi is aptly cast as the bearish man who never
loses a chance to whine. But its Kumud mishra who impresses , in his short role of a
unrelenting and committed government officer who works interminably to get the
required approvals from the lackdaisacal ministers. A special mention
of Inaamulhaq- playing the smeary Iraqi general possessing a discordant hindi
accent. He is an absolute pleasure to watch in the film.
A well researched film, director Raja Menon and his writers evoke a soaring sense of
pride through this real life story. Subtle yet effective, Airlift is a must watch.