Airlift is part Argo in execution but provides the right context and perspective with Akshay Kumar!
Brain-o-meter Rating - 7.5/10
Akshay Kumar is known to pick a wide assortment of films that may or may not do justice to his calibre. Thankfully, Airlift is one of the former. Director Raja Krishna Menon recreates the Kuwait exfiltration of 170,000 Indians from the war zone admirably well for its dramatic scenario although the jingoistic manner of some resolutions are particularly unsubtle.
Akshay Kumar plays a powerful diplomat and businessman who loses his standing when Iraq invades Kuwait. He soon realizes that he has to ask help from neighbouring countries for providing the Indians in Kuwait, shelter. The transformation from a haughty, Kuwait-loving businessman to a helpless Indian is shown delicately on screen; kudos to Kumar to pull it off. Nimrat Kaur is efficient in the wife role, which might be thankless in parts, but Kaur's talent shines especially in one scene when she retorts to an irate Indian's (Prakash Belawade in his inimitable avatar) blames, defending her husband in full flow. Purab Kohli is back on screen after an hiatus and he is good enough in his small role.
The other characters blend in the narrative and have nothing much to do. The script gives ample time for Kumar to flex his histrionics as the screenplay explores the corruption, the high-handedness of government officials, the vile nature of war, the needlessness of heinous acts and the support of real heroes in times of crisis. It also focuses on a pragmatic view of wives in general when they implore their husbands to stop becoming heroes themselves, a refreshing view especially in times of superheroes ruling the screen. It justifies the need for every Indian citizen to stand up when it matters, and become heroes in their own right, without depending on one benefactor for getting out of a mess.
In the vein of last year's Baby and A Wednesday, Airlift tries to bring realistic problems to the fore, although some solutions that it offers is too good to be true in different contexts. The direction is assured even though it is a debut and the songs, although well composed, are thankfully sparse, not impeding the progress of the narrative. All in all, a fine watch.