Airlift is based on a true story of the biggest evacuation performed by any country for its citizens out of a war zone. That in itself is a big reason enough to watch this film. To make a film based on the true story the challenge is that there is no suspense, everyone knows what is going to happen in the end and hence it is of utmost importance that the written material is good enough to hook the viewers on to the screen.
Raja Krishna Menon’s script does the task brilliantly and the film which is hyped due to its release on the republic day week, exceeds the expectations.
The real evacuation was helped by two businessmen whose personalities have been combined into our protagonist Ranjit Katyal played by Akshay Kumar. A businessman who was enjoying his parties and the high life in Kuwait until it is invaded by Iraq and his world turns upside down. The Iraqi soldiers are everywhere and circumstances put him in a position to forget about his inhibition about his country and to be the man to lead the escape if the 170000 fellow Indians from the war zone.
The proceedings in the film are kept very real, you can relate to the fear and adversities the stranded Indians feel on the screen. The acting is top notch Akshay Kumar is incredible in a role that demands of him to underplay his heroic persona and stay grounded to the story. He is at his best, he fights and gets beaten. He is frightened for the safety of his family yet he stays strong and persistent in finding ways to get out of the forbidden place. This is one of his best performances. Truly worthy of the awards.
Nimrat Kaur is competent and delivers superbly again after The Lunchbox.
Also special mention for Kumud Mishra who plays the earnest Joint Secretary in External Affairs ministry who plays a pivotal role in the evacuation. Inaamulhaq who plays the Iraqi major also does a good job but his accent was a little inconsistent.
About the director Raja Krishna Menon, whose previous films were very less known this is finally the big arrival. The subject of this film was developed by him and he has put in his heart in the film. Airlift is a serious subject that needed to be kept real and could have been a lot heavy but thanks to the input of situational humor that keeps you entertained. Kudos to Akshay Kumar for producing this film as well.
The music is also good and the songs do not seem forced on the proceedings. For a thriller I felt a lack of good background score but I guess the realism could have been hindered and hence it seems right to keep the background music low.
In conclusion the film is a must watch if you want to see good cinema and not the run of the mill masala.