Raja Krishna Menon brings Akshay Kumar onscreen as Ranjit Katiyal with Airlift – a film based on India’s massive evacuation of its citizens from Kuwait in 1990. The film’s story begins on the D-day – August 1, 1990 after Iraq president Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait. Ranjit, a business tycoon, has closed a few deals, bought one of the most-sought after palaces in town and trumped a friend-cum-business rival. He can’t wait to get home to celebrate. The same night, Iraqi forces attack the city and are successively creating a riot.
Airlift explicitly looks into the pain of a refugee community, showcasing real human emotions that challenge barriers and the actors make it all very identifiable. It is the story of a business-minded tycoon who turned Samaritan not because he is a great human being but more because the tragedy demands that.
Akshay’s first dialogue – ‘Profit explains everything’ – is a key vision into Ranjit’s psyche. This is important as the plot line builds from here. Though of Indian origin, Ranjit dislikes being identified as an Indian. Also as one of Kuwait’s richest businessmen, he is full of himself and money is all that seems to matter.
Akshay Kumar is perfect as Ranjit Katyal, honestly this role perfectly suits him and we don’t see the Khiladi Kumar here, instead we see a sincere, brave man, committed to saving the lives of people around him. This is easily one of Akshay’s career best performances. He can easily be considered a versatile actor since he manages to do the no brainers like Khiladi 786 and Rowdy Rathore and films like Baby and now Airlift. Nimrat Kaur beautifully essays her role and a wife and mother. She has natural screen presence and makes an impact in her role.
The direction is brilliant and in keeping with the story line. The dialogues are strong and make an impact; the story is swift and makes effortlessly flows. The music adds a softer side to this story with romantic tracks and great compositions which adds some warmth and soul to the story. Soch Na Sake and Dil Cheez are soulful and memorable. The background score is powerful and fits well into the story.
With brilliant camera work, Airlift superbly recreates the Kuwait in the early 90s with real establishing shots capturing locales, synced with the background score makes the experience real. This is purely no nonsense cinema. This movie makes a lasting impact on viewers. A film filled with courage and heroism.
Rating: 8/10 | 4 Stars