The film is about the evacuation of Indians during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, showing how after the Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussain attacked Kuwait, the plush life of a wealthy Indian community settled their changed overnight.
Saddam Hussein’s forces overran Kuwait in August 1990; the Indian government evacuated thousands of stranded persons from Middle East. Estimates say that over 110,000 citizens from Iraq and Kuwait were were safely rescued via an airlift that included nearly 500 flights. The operation is the largest civilian evacuation in history; Air India had to fly 488 flights over 59 days, carrying 111,711 passengers.
The movie directed by Raja Krishna Menon, is a tale of unmatched heroism. The film bolsters the drama, provides the narrative an emotional map to follow, it keeps one glued to the seat throughout the story as one see how the events unfold making a common man into an unsung hero. The lead actor Akshay plays the role of Kuwait-based businessman Ranjit Katiyal.
Kumar showed his age with salt and pepper beard looking the very next door neighbor. His character shows the very trauma a person will feel when realizes that he no longer wields any influence on the Iraqis, and that he and his family are in as much danger as anyone else.
Ranjit’s transformation from a self-centric man to a fellow caring for strangers leaves one admiring a subtle way. Ranjit's relation with wife Amrita (Nimrat Kaur) displays the strains of time and stress. Nirmal as Amrita is being cynical, when his husband shows heroism in the time of terror, showing the real character with few shades of grey. As Ranjit Katiyal, Akshay Kumar has delivered an oeuvre-defining performance. Nimrat Kaur has also given admirable performance.
In all, Airlift is the story of unparalleled courage and unsung heroes. This subtly patriotic movie is expected to be Akshay’s first blockbuster of the year.
Interestingly, ‘Airlift’ 1990 was also replugged in 2015, when thousands of stranded persons from Middle East were safely evacuated from the strife-ridden Middle East countries through Operation ‘Rahat’. In 2015, as a result of direct and decisive actions of the Indian government, the government was able to safely evacuate Indian as well as the foreign nationals from Yemen; the effort was well acknowledged and hailed as unparalleled by the world in one voice.