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Airlift: Movie Review

  • Merkwürdige Liebe

    Merkwürdige Liebe

    Desimartini | Updated - January 27, 2016 9:42 PM IST
    4.3DM (8261 ratings)

    Verdict - A disappointingly half-baked drama which failed to make me feel.

    AirliftWatch trailerRelease date : January 22, 2016

    "Airlift" has been among the better received mainstream Bollywood films of recent times. It features Akshay Kumar, a mighty fine actor-cum-star who is usually wasted in unbearably harebrained comedies, playing a sincere dramatic role for a change, and he does more with the part than most Bollywood stars would agree to do: in one of the scenes early on in the film wherein Kumar's character Ranjit believes, not without good reason, that his wife and daughter may have been killed, snoot hangs from his nose as he cries clutching his kid's toy thereby completely debunking the image of an alpha male Bollywood hero he routinely plays in films like "Rowdy Rathore" and "Boss", betraying a rare vulnerability which instantly reduces him to a mere human. Make no mistake - he's very much a traditional hero in the film, practically a messiah who saves over a lakh people during a political crisis, but Kumar brings a certain humane touch to his part which makes his hero feel more grounded than larger-than-life, thereby making the gargantuan scale of his achievement in the film (based on true events) even more admirable. The film also features a fine supporting cast, from Prakash Belawadi, a mighty good actor who somehow always seems to find his way into terrible films ("Wazir", and I belong to the extreme minority that hated "Talvar" too) and Kumud Mishra, who strikes all the right notes as a character named Kohli, a role that could have gone wrong in so many ways. But I can't help but wonder: is that really all that there is to making a fine crowd-pleaser? Because I found this one to be a glaringly half-baked drama where nearly none of the dramatic beats work. Consider Nimrat Kaur's character, for instance: initially, she opposed to her husband's decision of staying back to rescue the entire Indian populace in Kuwait - he's very rich and has contacts and can easily get the hell out of Kuwait along with his family but decides to stay back to help the other not-so-well-off Indians. In one scene, Belawadi's nagging character berates Ranjit for something and... that alone causes the wife to suddenly have a change of heart and find great respect for Ranjit's acts? The character of the minister, who is for most part seen being a typical irresponsible politician who makes excuses like "That's not our department, please ask someone else" in response to the Indian's requests for help, in the end... suddenly becomes a good guy mouthing supposedly uplifting dialogues? What purpose does Belawadi's character serve, apart from making an ass of himself and thus further underscoring the goodness of Kumar's character? Did he really have to be such a one-note caricature? And speaking of caricatures, what the hell was that character of the Iraqi Major, played by Inamulhaq with an embarrassingly awful accent? I'm sorry for a potentially sanctimonious comment, but if this is what makes for among the better Bollywood films of our times, I'm afraid we're setting the bar terribly low for ourselves.

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