Airlift online movie review - Akshay's films might not be reaching the infamous 100 crore status, but the man is rightly choosing his subjects becoming the new-age Bharat Kumar for the present generation.
Based on the genuinely lesser-known heroes of the past, AIRLIFT is a completely focused and a sincere effort by director Raja Krishna Menon enlightening the viewers about the
time of first Gulf War, when around 1,70,000 Indians left stranded in Kuwait were safely rescued by the efforts made by a few local businessmen of Indian origin, a few government employees and diplomats here in India going out of their way compromising with the set protocol.
The rare and unbelievable kind of incident deserved to be adapted on the silver screen as a must and team AIRLIFT does the given important task pretty well with only a few preventable minuses revealed in the later part of the review, mentioning the merits first.
The film begins with a non-Hindi sequence giving you a feel of where the story is actually based and then the lead character of Akshay gets revealed as a cunning, money-minded businessman with a song "Dil Cheez Tujhe De Di', reminding you of Khaled's hit track of the early '90s titled DIDI. However, the relief moments get over soon within the opening 10 minutes and the narration straight away comes to its basic shocking plot without wasting any more time as required.
The director, along with his cinematographer (Priya Seth), brilliantly recreates the absurd, life-threatening and hell of a scary scenario on the streets very intelligently (with fine detailing), without going into any hugely grand scale (try to catch the sight of all wrecked shops at the back with boards like of CASIO). As a result one truly feels the fear watching military tanks moving around the houses, heavy guns in the hands of young soldiers and people being shot dead on just hearing a word said in Arabic.
Personally speaking, the well-shot and conceived transformation of life within seconds ? without caring about any kind of richness one might have achieved ? reminded me of a similar sequence in Yash Chopra's WAQT where the life-changing twist is a result of devastating earthquake and not any foreign attack. The story progression remains convincing and majorly gripping till intermission despite some unrequired songs and the film keeps heading towards an expectedly uplifting climax arousing patriotic feeling among the audience that honestly could have been much more energetic and exciting giving the event a thrilling edge.
Apart from the fact that AIRLIFT largely works due to its rare, unheard-of historical event and its (said to be) authentic portrayal, the other truth remains that the film completely relies on the strong shoulders of Akshay alone and the actor underplays the heroic act well without falling back to the usual Bollywood heroism. Akshay's first-rate performance gets decently supported by Nimrat Kaur, who could have done much better underplaying it too, because at times it does make you feel awkward watching her calmly living in her big house overlooking the gravely dangerous situation in the country they are living in. The supporting cast has some effective portrayals from Purab Kohli, Kumud Mishra, Feryna Wazheir and above all Prakash Belawadi who successfully annoys the viewers too along with Akshay and others on screen.
Coming to the hiccups in AIRLIFT, which unfortunately don't let you rate the film as any classic exemplary attempt making a major breakthrough, firstly it's the usual inclusion of love songs (with another inspired one from a Punjabi hit number 'Soch') coming at a time when there is tension written all over the screen with people dying. Admittedly post the first acceptable party track, the moment a melody begins, you feel like why they are adding songs in such a finely progressing movie based on a serious subject?
The second drawback in the film for me was the casting of Inaamulhaq as the Iraqi general speaking with a funny accent. No doubt Inaamulhaq is a fine actor who tried his best to deliver the expected result in the assigned job. But as I felt, another terrifying face in that particular role could have resulted in much more scary impact in those important sequences with Akshay avoiding all the unintentional comic touches.
As the third and most important hiccup of the film, its climax lacked that expected exaggeration or cinematic tension that should have been there depicting probably the biggest civil evacuation in the world history. The detailing was completely missing as it actually had more than 450 planes airlifting the 1,70,000 people from the region, that took around one to two months as reported. Besides, the emphasis entirely remains on talks and requests made on humanitarian ground, without any kind of exciting cinematic moments bringing the viewer on to the edge of his seat as seen in similar attempts in the west like in ARGO.
Talking about the political involvement and will showcased in the film as per the real life happenings, AIRLIFT actually doesn't make you feel proud for the government or political leaders of those times not taking any instant timely action as desired. On the contrary, it makes you feel proud for those few government employees and concerned officials who in reality made it possible through their personal efforts fighting against all the usual political drama and time-lags.
So keeping in mind the shortcomings, do watch AIRLIFT as a good film inspiring us all to be together as INDIANS irrespective of any caste, colour or region. But don't expect anything as exciting and effective as ARGO, HOTEL RWANDA or SCHINDLER's LIST.