Friday, January 22, 2016

Airlift



Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 22nd January, 2016
Time : 124 minutes
Director, Writer: Raja Krishna Menon; Co-writers : Suresh Nair, Rahul Nangia, Ritesh Shah; Music : Amaal Mallik, Ankit Tiwari
Starring : Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Kumud Mishra, Prakash Belawadi, Purab Kohli, Feryna Wazheir, Inaam Ul Haq




In the opening scenes, Akshay and Nimrat, have some interesting, well-written conversational exchanges, the kind of sniping that most married couples would relate to and easily identify with, is very real. And then there is a belly dance item number. Most of the movie is like that – some great moments but then something filmy intrudes…but a tight script, great performances and an uplifting ending rescue the film from mediocrity



Akshay is a successful businessman based out of Kuwait, who’s not too fond of his Indian roots, has almost disowned the country of his birth. But the invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqi’s in 1990, changes all of that. The Kuwaiti ruling class take flight at the first opportunity, abandoning their citizens. And Akshay’s driver sacrifices himself to save his employers’ life. A shaken Akshay has the opportunity to leave, escape with his wife (Nimrat) and daughter but seeing the crowd of Indian refugees outside his office, he decides to try and help…


I like the way they kept things tight, didn’t let the narrative stray too far from the main plot. And they got a fantastic ensemble cast - Kumud Mishra is brilliant as the face of the Indian bureaucracy in the Ministry of External Affairs(sadly, despite several searches, including on the Facebook page of the film, couldn’t find any photo of him in this significant role), Purab Kohli has a nice cameo as an employee, Feryna touches the right hapless note as a Kuwaiti trying to hide, Prakash Belawadi is perfect as the irritable refugee, always questioning / criticizing but never doing anything and finally, Inaam Ul Haq is outstanding as the Iraqi major, trying to do business with Akshay.


While Akshay is very good in his role, very believable, what doesn’t work is his transition – from elitist, Kuwaiti, hard-nosed, money obsessed man to caring, Indian, quiet, do-gooder – this happens too rapidly. Nimrat’s transition (she’s excellent as the questioning wife) is much better shown – critical of the new Akshay at first, she slowly begins to understand and aggressively defends him when he is criticized. The songs don’t work either – some distract / are too loud and most, even in the background, dissipate the air of tension being created.


There are several nice touches – Kumud’s meeting with the Air India pilots, his conversation with the Jordan embassy official, a small chat with his father and even his meeting with his own Minister. Akshay’s meeting with his friends, drinking scotch in the early days of the invasion, the way Nimrat questions his actions – all work, are sensitively shown. Some over the top, filmy sequences are there too but the former stay in the memory more than the latter



It wasn’t an easy film to watch, especially in the first half. I guess most of us (especially those who’ve worked abroad) find the story to be the stuff our worst nightmares are made of – and most of us knew someone who went through this or something like this. The fact that this is loosely based around someone real makes it more interesting – how many of us would’ve done the same after all – given up an opportunity to escape and stayed back to help others less fortunate ? Perhaps this one is worth watching just for that reason…

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite critical yet awarded 7/10 ?

Anonymous said...

Is Facebook the only way to find/search people ?

Anonymous said...

Nothing to beat scotch on the rocks ! Three Cheers !

Anonymous said...

Transition does take place,(that's relatively)... it's nice to see a true Casanova like Akshay change into a complete Man of the house, the ideal family man... .... When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour... That's relatively...

Anonymous said...

Oops ! Such blunder :( ... I meant to say relativity...

Anonymous said...

Oops ! Such blunder :( ... I meant to say relativity... So silly of me.

Anonymous said...

Seems this movie has actually Uplifted your spirits...

Anonymous said...

Moonlit night and a dash of chilly winters, perfect combo for a mobike ride...top it up with dollops of intense feelings...

Arti Jain said...

I didn't read your review before going to watch the movie; just saw the 7/10 and decided it must be worth a try! Just read the review -- it's spot on. And the question you ask about how we'd behave in a similar situation is what I came out with, too. My only hope is that we never have to find out.

Apurv Nagpal said...

Thanks so much, Arti... agree, hope we're never in that situation

Sonal Kumar said...

I too couldn't diigest the fact that a man who doesn't listen indian music in his car became such a big lover of India instantly.. other that that I also disliked the use of some characters. but the theme truly holds the movie. I would have rated it 6 out of 10

Anonymous said...

The movie is generating a lot of backlash by the MEA for having presented them in the wrong foot...

Anonymous said...

Movies de-stress you, no ?