Airlift was saved by its great script and great performances

Published: January 25, 2016

Airlift is a true story based on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. PHOTO: AIRLIFT FACEBOOK PAGE

This past few years, it is an undeniable fact that Akshay Kumar falls under the category of the most daring and bankable actors of Bollywood. This has enabled him to act in diverse genres, ranging from senseless and cheesy comedy flicks, to sensible and thought provoking movies.

This time around Akshay Kumar has teamed up with debutante Raja Krishna Menon to highlight a real life incident back in 1990; the Kuwait crisis.

Airlift is a true story based on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. It revolves around Indians residing in Kuwait during that time and how Ranjeet Katiyal, (Akshay Kumar) along with his family and friends help evacuate 150, 000 Indians from a war-torn Kuwait.

Photo: Airlift Facebook page

Airlift is based on raw emotions, hope, political procrastination, dedicated officials and the transformation of a shrewd businessman who ends up becoming the nation’s only hope.

Photo: Airlift Facebook page

Ranjeet Katiyal’s character is definitely not an easy character to portray but Akshay Kumar has proven that the character was tailor-made for him. I feel this is one of Akshay Kumar’s most prominent performances. The character required a mature, sensible, quick-minded and arrogant person who turns into a soft hearted individual – and Akshay Kumar has delivered all these traits remarkably.

Photo: Airlift Facebook page

The remaining cast has done justice to their characters as well, starting with Nimrat Kaur, playing Ranjeet’s wife, Amrita Katiyal. She exudes confidence and elegance along with sheer talent. It can be said that she is extremely selective in her choice of films, since this is her first movie after Lunchbox (2013). If she remains to be this selective, she will soon be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Shabana Azmi and Tabu.

Photo: Airlift Facebook page

Inaamulhaq, who plays the role of Major Khalaf Bin Zayd is a delight to watch. He has acted with gusto and managed to display a range of shades in his character, which does nothing but impress the audience.

The supporting cast did their job well. Purab Kohli as Ibrahim proved to be reliable actor. Prakash Belawadi as George is fun to watch and portrays his finicky character outstandingly. Kumud Mishra as Kohli attested to the fact that he is an incredible performer.

Photo: Airlift Facebook page

Direction wise, Airlift is average, nothing to write home about. Its saving grace, however, is the script along with the power packed performances making the movie engaging. The songs are nothing great either. Soch Na Sake is a slow and melodious song whereas Dil Cheez Tujhe Dedi reminds the audience of a 90s Arabic hit, Di Di Wa by Cheb Khaled.

I would rate Airlift a good 3.5 out of 5 purely based on brilliant story-telling and over-the-top yet believable performances.

Shafiq Ul Hasan

Shafiq Ul Hasan

The author is an avid movie lover and reviews films and dramas regularly. He is a professional digital inbound marketer. He has worked with a silicon valley-based social network as a content analyst. He blogs at and tweets as @shafiqulhasan81 (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Bharatiya Oz

    Must watch movie…Akshay Kumar has done justice to Ranjit Katyal’s character.

    A true story telling you how once you step out of India, your ‘pehechaan’ will be of “Indian” and how Ranjit Katyal realised this fact pretty soon in the movie.

    Happy Indian Republic and Australia Day.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    taking out Akshay Kumar’s Original Performance…you are left with a Carbon Copy product of Ben Affleck’s -ARGO, Dont Expect alot of Originality from bollywood these days!Recommend

  • Petrichor

    “Airlift is a true story based on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait”. According to some people it’s not a very accurate account of events.Recommend

  • sameer

    Airlift is a
    brilliant movie. Raja Krishna Menon, the director has made a movie on real
    happenings, which later on got India a name in the annals of history as the
    biggest evacuations in the world ever.

    Superstar Akshay
    Kumar is outstanding as the savior of 1,70,000 Indians who were stuck in the
    war zone. He underplays the emotions and convinces as Ranjit Khatyal , a
    character based on two individuals, a Mr. Matthews and a Mr. Vedi, both whose
    names are mentioned in the end credits.

    Nimrat Kaur is
    wonderful as Akkis wife. The supporting cast is fantastic. Editing is crisp,
    Cinematography excellent.

    Though it has a lot
    of nationalism, it doesn’t run down or make fun of other countries or
    nationalities. But in fact the track of Akki saving the Kuwaiti woman and her
    child reinforces that one must rise over mere nationalism in a crisis.

    Airlift is a story of
    what happened when one country attacks another which happened in 1990. But now
    such crisis is happening everywhere. Now in middle east. Tomorrow it can be

    can’t believe that India has not started making great movies like this. Do not
    miss Airlift.Recommend

  • LS

    So ARGO was a story of airlifting 150,000 Indians from Kuwait? Just because a plane is involved in the story it is a copy of ARGO?Recommend

  • coco dumbo

    arre yaar if it were a CC of Argo the name of film would be Cargo not AirliftRecommend

  • saraty007