Akshay soars high, yet again (Airlift)

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Jan 2016 11:41:13




Film reviews

By Aasawari Shenolikar

Raja Krishna Menon, with Airlift, brings to the viewers a poignant and moving tale of the 1,70000 Indians who were caught in the midst of the Iraq - Kuwait conflict and found themselves stranded in Kuwait, with no help coming from any quarters. The ordeal lasted 59 days, and a few Indians who took the risk and the lead, got the Indians evacuated in one of the biggest operations that has been listed in the Guinness Book of records as ‘the biggest evacuation in the history of Mankind.’
Krishna Menon had deftly woven the story, keeping it tight, and ensuring that reality takes centrestage and not melodrama. And that is where he has scored. The icing on the cake is that he roped in one of the most dependable actors, Akshay Kumar to play the lead. And needless to say, Akshay Kumar has, once again, outdone himself.
Ranjit Katiyal (Akshay Kumar) is a reputed and ruthless businessman in Kuwait, in whose dictionary profit takes precedence over everything. The haughty Katiyal looks down upon his motherland, and loathes it to such an extent that he does not even want to listen to Bollywood music on his car stereo. And then one day, his world is shattered when Iraqis soldiers invade Kuwait and cause mayhem. He is not gunned down because he is an Indian. This, and the havoc that he sees in the strife-ridden land, makes him realise that he needs to do something for his fellow Indians who had all taken shelter in his office. The colleagues and their families are joined by their friends and the chain continues, and Ranjit is compelled to think of their safety too. He is given a chance to save his own life and that of his family comprising of Amrita (Nimrat Kaur) and a daughter, but he gives that up and, at the risk of his own life, takes efforts to ensure that no one under his umbrella come to any harm. His constant efforts bear fruit and the stranded Indians find a way back home.
While it is Akshay's film all along, Menon has taken care to deftly weave through the narration personal stories of a few, thus elevating the film to being as ‘very real.’ The characters express with their body language, with their eyes and the viewer is saved from excessive melodrama. So strong is everyone that the audience can connect with their emotions and feelings. There are moments so real in the film that you start wondering if it is a film that you are watching, especially the interaction with Akshay and Nimrat. Worth mentioning is one such scene where the couple is attending a party. Just before they enter the room, Akshay says, “Ab apna mood badal do. Zara smile karo.” And she retorts, “Aur tum daru zara kam peena.” The arguments that the couple has as regards to his actions are also true to life. Accusing him of ‘trying to be a messiah’, is another shining moment in the film.
Akshay Kumar, who rocks as a comedian, also has the ability to effortlessly ease into a role that is in complete contrast to a light-hearted role. His role demands him to be haughty and he does that wonderfully. His transition in demeanour from an arrogant businessman to a humbled person, who has taken the responsibility of saving thousands of fellow Indians, is commendable. His body language says it all - watch him in the first scene when he is hobnobbing with the royalty of Kuwait, and then watch him interacting with the Iraqi Colonel, and there is only one to describe him - brilliant.  
Nimrat shines. She is luminous as Akshay’s better half, who is not a doormat. She is not afraid to speak her mind, whether it is against what he is doing, or supporting him in front of the people who are doubting his capabilities, Nimrat is superb.
The supporting cast complements the director’s vision. The laid-back government officials, who are jerked out of their complacency because of the doggedness of one person, the ever-complaining Mr George, all lend a hand to make Airlift a movie worth watching.
Granted this is not as thrilling and fast paced as Special 26 or Baby, nevertheless, it scores in terms of subtly bringing to the viewers an emotion laden incident that must have left a scar on the psyche of many, but was also responsible for reiterating that humanity scores over everything else. Raw and gripping - worth a watch!

The Hitavada Rating :