Akshay Kumar is undoubtedly the interesting actor today when it comes to selecting roles and in terms of his body of work. From action films, dramas, comedies, he has done it all and all of it at a pace that would put any teenager to shame. So Airlift comes as a breath of fresh air as well as a pleasant surprise from a star who has made a habit of creating gems every once in a while. Following his stellar acts in the likes of Special 26, OMG and the sleeper hit Baby last year, Akshay Kumar is back with his first offering in 2016 and does he manage to wow.
The cast for the film reads fairly “arthouse” where the only other notable name apart from Kumar is Nimrat Kaur actress of Lunchbox. There are veterans such as Kumud Mishra and Prakash Belawadi as well as Purab Kohli who appears on the mainstream Bollywood horizon after a long time. Also in the film is Inaam ul Haq who was last seen in the dud Filmistaan. However, this is not much of an issue as the film is fairly plot driven.
Coming to the story, the film is based on real life incidents that have unfortunately gone under the radar in the past few years. Starting in Kuwait in August 1990, the film traces the journey of more than 170000 Indians who were airlifted when Iraq invaded Kuwait and ultimately sparked off the first Gulf War. Following the standard set format, the film traces the journey of an ordinary man who is transformed into the extraordinary owing to the circumstances and how the Indian bureaucracy and the Indian army was successfully able to pull off the most audacious and mass evacuation in history.
The film has Akshay Kumar playing a wealthy businessman based in Kuwait, who shares his life with his wife, played by Nimrat Kaur and his daughter. Life is fine until the invasion when he finds that all his employees look forward to him in order to survive and he must discover his more human and moral side. Shot in an aggressive and fast paced manner, the film has all the elements of a gripping thriller but is let down ever so slightly by the screenplay. It is real enough with the actors doing great justice to their parts but the film drags at times due to the obligatory song and dance and the overtly long action sequences.
However, great performances all round, particularly from leading man Akshay, who surprises once again, lead you to keep rooting for the evacuation and keep you on the edge of your seat till the climax. While the film is largely reliant on its star performer, the supporting cast too does its bit quite effectively and makes their roles count whenever give the opportunity.
For those looking for a dash of patriotism come Republic Day or even just to experience a compelling real to reel drama, Airlift is certainly a must watch.
Director: Raja Krishnan Menon
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur and Purab Kohli
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
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