Airlift is directed by Raja Krishna Menon, starring Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur in the lead roles. This drama thriller is based on true events that transpired during the evacuations of Indians based in Kuwait during the Iraq-Kuwait war. An Indian businessman, Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) helped in evacuating 1,70,000 Indians safely back to their home country at the time of crisis. The first half starts of with little background on characters until further development ensures to state their working and living lifestyle, which later becomes affected with events that turn the film around into an impactful and engaging movie. Second half does no less and continues to take Airlift on to a promising journey.
- Strong script ensures a packed movie that narrates the true story. For someone with little historical information in regards to such real events, this film undoubtedly delivers the material in ensuring every little detail is given to the viewers. Whether it comes from the characters emotions and what they are going through, the battle that is taking place, or the consequences the community faces, Airlift touches on every aspect leaving little room for questioning towards portraying a worthy depiction of a true story.
- Directional efforts were straight to the scene, not much experimentation was going on with trying to make such scenes seem mesmerizing, this could be due to the type of film that was being portrayed. But the lack of creativity and playing around with shots proves to be a positive, as the film required nothing spectacular. Throughout the film, shots were firm in trying to show realism and as an audience you feel as if you are a part of what is going through the mind of Akshay Kumar. As for the visual effects that were inputted to represent a demolition and war zone, those were evidently unrealistic and quite obvious to be picked out. It proves to be a distraction but the savior of the script being well written and visually pictured, erases the unpleasing computer generated imagery.
- Performance was convincing from Akshay, nothing fancy or overly exaggerated, just stuck to his role that compliments the scenario occurring around him. Nimrat Kaur also proves to be a strong presence in pushing the film forward despite starting of slow.
- We start off with the obvious; it is a battlefield, a war zone between Iraq and Kuwait, a shoot on sight type of situation being created when Iraqi soldiers hunt down Kuwait civilians. We are given glimpses of the shoot on sight efforts but there are several scenes where you would assume, the shoot on sight mission remains intact and so it should not be any different for anybody else. But there are scenes that portray the alternative; leaving you thinking this just lacks a realistic approach. Apart from the realism not shown through a soldier’s duty, there is a scene where an altercation occurs and for some reason, the soldiers point their guns but not fire bullets and this leads to a fist-to-fist scuffle. Without revealing any further of the outcome, but why not use your weaponry that has continuously been used throughout the film? This also makes the audience mindset to question the realistic scenario of what could and most likely should occur.
- As touched upon in the positives, the visual effects and computer generated imagery is below par and a complete fail. Indian cinema has the money to explore and experiment with movies, but continue to fall behind in the visual effects department. Creating the visuals of a battlefield gives a fake impression on screen. In a film that is made to be believable due to the subject matter, to a certain degree as a viewer you will begin to doubt the film. But due to the positive script writing, you soon get trapped into a believable film. But the effects are a big let down, one of the major disappointments to be noted.
- The film does become dragged at some points, leaving it to be a disruption, but majority of the film has short scenes, so through a filmmaking perspective some scenes could have been omitted from the movie runtime. It slowly reduces the focus on the film until the movie continues later to progress further with the thrilling storyline.
- AKSHAY KUMAR – He packs in a solid leadership figure in being the mastermind behind obtaining the evacuation for the people. He showed emotions, promise and commitment throughout his role that made his character stand out and one that you want to see continuously. From a businessman kind of mentality thinking about himself and his family only, he soon becomes a thinker for others and worries about those around him for once, because unlike what he did in the beginning when it was all about making money, it now was about saving, saving the people and not the money. At times you will feel for his efforts, there be times you will appreciate his assurance as he pledges the safety of the Indians, you just get to witness several sides to Akshay in this film and that leaves him standing and walking tall in the film.
- NIMRAT KAUR – At certain points in the film she seemed below par when compared to Akshay Kumar but she soon becomes a prominent figure in making her existence felt. She seems to be side to side with Akshay in the latter parts of the film unlike through the start where she seemed as a shadowing character instead. She has that bit of a upper class persona but soon stoops to the level of Akshay’s mentality towards helping others. When this occurs, Nimrat soon becomes a major female figure amongst these thousands of civilians who are frustrated. She has a powerful scene where she out-speaks a civilian who questions Akshay’s strategies. That was her best scene in the film as it proved to be the most memorable scene with her inclusion.
Airlift soundtrack beings with ‘Soch Na Sake’ sung by Arijit SIngh, Tulsi Kumar and Amaal Mallik. Arijit brings in the song with likeable vocals but it gets the finishing soothing touch through the vocals of Tulsi. She brings in a bit more of sweetness to the song making this an instant likeable song that will keep you wanting it on a loop. ‘Dil Cheez Tujhe Dedi’ is a collaboration between Ankit Tiwari and Arijit Singh, two of the finest singers in Indian Cinema coming together to perform a mix Arabic with a Westernised touch, making this number a catchy dance one. ‘Mera Nachan Nu’ sung by Amaal Mallik, is given the slot for a Panjabi song that compliments a much more of a happy impression. ‘Tu Bhoola Jise’ by Armaan Mallik, this song finally sows down the pace in the soundtrack bringing a more thought-provoking impression. Leaving the listeners to have more of a salute type imagination towards a film that is based on supporting the countries civilians. The melody theme signifies a patriotic feel to it. ‘Soch Na Sake (version 2) sung by Arijit SIngh as as solo contribution, is a treat for the listeners as this song seems to be the hit from the soundtrack, yet we are given 2 versions of it.
AIRLIFT MOVIE RATING 4/5
Airlift was promising and it sure did deliver, the evacuation phase and the lead up to it, the struggles one faces and the hope and loss effect, it all was a worthy movie to witness. The film proved to be a significant one to surface the true story. It gave so much for the audience to watch and learn about how one man managed to beat all odds and accomplish the safety of 170,000 Indians to be evacuated back to India. From the script to the performers, it proved to be a well-crafted movie that praised well visually in narrating the film. Despite some flaws in showing continuity of realism, it falters at times and the CGI effects were a big let down and that pulled the film back a little but not too much damaged was caused by these setbacks. To conclude, I would recommend you to watch Airlift, it may not be the typical commercial film you expect to watch in cinema, but for a film to be depicted on true events, it was thrilling, engaging and attention luring, this triggered a focused mind to the screen.