Sunday, January 31, 2016

MovieNotes: Airlift

Title: Airlift (IMDB)
*ing: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Purab Kohli
Language: Hindi with mix of Arabic
Director: Raja Menon
Genre: History, Drama

Basic Premise
Airlift tells the story of the evacuation of nearly 170,000 Indian nationals from Kuwait after the country had been invaded by Iraq in August 1990.

What Works
The movie never goes over-the-top in its patriotism. The protagonists aren't shown doing "heroic" things (except for one climatic shot). They are just trying to make sense of the sudden change in their environment while attempting to survive this unexpected ordeal. Also we get to see varied reactions from different people all trying to make the some sense of this sudden trauma.

Akhsay Kumar as the lead protagonist Ranjit Katyal. He is simultaneously understated and the reluctant leader of the Indian community. His slow transformation from a self-centred "Kuwaiti" to an "Indian" who is concerned about the whole community is beautifully depicted. As is Mrs. Katyal's slightly slower acceptance of the situation.

The movie shows the tensions of the situation without going into the details of the prevailing politics.

The time period of 1990 is also referenced nicely. We get to see an upcoming Sachin Tendulkar giving an interview, late-80s Bollywood music playing in the background, people fiddling with audio cassettes.

What Doesn't
Not showing the real extent of the work done by the Indian government in the background. The movie gives the Indian bureacratic machinery far less credit for the rescue than it deserves.

The sheer scale of 170,000 stranded people somehow never shows up on screen. It just seems to be number thrown up without any logistical back-up.

Rating - 8/10. Overall a good film, with heart.

Previously on MovieNotes - The Motorcycle Diaries

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