Lounge Movie Review

Airlift (2016)

I liked the Akshay Kumar starrer Airlift (2016).  It was a story that needed to be told, to young Indians everywhere. Rest of the world (outside USA) needs films like this to popularise their own real life heroes, or risk having its people hear and see the entire world only through American eyes. Variety is the spice of life and I feel it’s more true when it comes to movies.

If you ask whether the movie was factually correct to the true story that happened during the period of August to October 1990 in Kuwait, Director Raja Krishna Menon has tried but hasn’t tried enough to succeed. I am willing to give that creative freedom to the Director to exaggerate the role of the protagonist to suit Akshay Kumar‘s star value. It’s not as if this story came up last year, the heroic acts of Mathunny Mathews (popularly known as Toyota Sunny) are well known for last 25 years and anyone could’ve made a great movie without any starcasts. Its certain that without Akshay Kumar’s backing this film would not have managed to draw in crowd and revenue as it is doing now. Until there are organisations and billionaire in India willing to underwrite commercially unviable but great stories, as audience we need to give allowance to Indian film makers to suit the story for their stars.

Good performance by all supporting actors including Nimrat Kaur (as Amrita Katyal, Inaamulhaq (as Major Khalaf) and Kumud Mishra (as Sanjeev Kohli).

What was otherwise an entertaining film could’ve done better without the party dance in the beginning and the writers would have done the nation a favour by not over-simplifying the mammoth logistics that made the evacuation possible. Think of this, a typical bus carries about 35 passengers, to transport 1,70,000 (Indians from Kuwait to Amman (Jordan) a distance of 1100 Kms), you would have needed 50 buses each making 100 trips.  Air India alone did nearly 488 flights over 59 days each carrying around 300 passengers. And all this was happening in a war zone, crossing 3 national boundaries with most passengers not having any travel documents. In real life this took extraordinary planning and negotiation by (then) Indian Government, NGOs, Indian defense forces and Indian community in the region.

Overall, a must watch in January 2016.