Average critic ratings of other movies released in 2015 – 2016. Airlift, so far, is the best rated film in the last few months.
- Wazir – 2.7 stars
- Dilwale – 2.5 stars
- Bajirao Mastani – 3.2 stars
- Hate Story 3 – 1.7 stars
- Tamasha – 3 stars
- Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – 2.7 stars
- Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 – 2.6 stars
- Jazbaa – 2.6 stars
- Singh Is Bling – 2.3 stars
- Shaandaar – 2.2 stars
- Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon – 2.17 stars
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Airlift Review by Indicine
Airlift is a very deft movie made without any added dramatic effect and that is clearly visible in the way Raja Menon has put together the movie. It is shot realistically and the detailing is impressive. There are no spiced up revelations, the lead protagonist doesn’t end up fighting his advisories. Airlift maintains a whiff of humanity throughout its runtime and it takes a lot of courage and ambition to tell such an underknown story in such an ambitious manner. Airlift is one of the rare movies which entertains and educates. The only flaw we can think of in the screenplay is the over reliance on Akshay Kumar’s character to get everything done. It can’t possibly have been just one man doing all the work (and the makers themselves reveal this in the end credits).
Airlift Review by Bollywood Hungama
Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon’s relatives were part of the Kuwait crisis. It must have been a story very close to his heart for he has poured tears, cries and trauma that only those who’ve been through hell can narrate. His direction leaves a hammer strong impact. Raja Menon is a director to watch out for. Suresh Nair, Rahul Nangia, Ritesh Shah along with Menon share the writing credits. Screenplay is gripping. There’s not a single false note. Dialogues are wonderfully written. At several junctures you shall get funny gems like ‘Reti mein kheti karoon kya’ and many more.
Airlift Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
While the first half marches along confidently, the second half stands on shaky ground. The evacuation is hastily wrapped up and the film loses a bit of its momentum. Director Menon may have shied away from formula for most parts, but he succumbs to it towards the end.
Airlift Review by Tushar P Joshi on Bollywood Life
Watch Airlift coz it tells a very important story that never got a mention in our history books. And also because the attempt to try out such subjects and storylines is applause worthy. Only if there were less songs and an editor who could tighten the length, Airlift would be soaring newer heights.
Airlift Review by Raja Sen on Rediff
Everything else is sincerity and fortitude, and while well-meaning, sticking merely to that is what keeps this film from being genuinely memorable.
Airlift Review by Lokesh Dharmani on Masala
Airlift, on one hand, is very real but at times fails to keep the audience on the edge of their seats that one would expect from a rescue thriller. Raja Krishna Menon manages to build tension but not enough to pause you from stuffing your face with that bag of popcorn. And then the need to insert those songs in between that robs a thriller from its pace and impact. Despite that it makes for a great weekend watch.
Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India
The film is set in the early 90s and the director does a fair job recreating the era – even the detailing in costumes and backdrops is noteworthy. The war invasion scenes may not be massive in terms of scale but still give you a decent description of the havoc caused. Overall, the film has a stark look and feel, which works in its favour to quite an extent. Prakash Belawadi as the cranky old man in the camp is a scene-stealer. Akshay Kumar’s stellar performance is the film’s backbone. In almost every frame of the film, he doesn’t let his grip loose even once. Easily one of his most effective and restrained acts in recent times.
Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today
Raja Krishna Menon’s tale of the largest evacuation in the history of the world is gritty, edge-of-the-seat and heart-stopping. There are moments in the film which actually catch you so off guard, you have your heart in your mouth. The research that has gone in into the creation of Airlift is visible in every frame. Menon resurrects the Kuwait of 1990 and how! However, despite all the brilliance, the last bit of the film looks hurried. It is almost like the filmmaker too couldn’t wait to finish the film and get home, just like all those Kuwaiti-Indian refugees.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Raja Krishna Menon, writer and director of Airlift, suffers no such mishaps. His recreation of the harrowing events leading up to one of the most glorious chapters in Indian civil aviation history is marked by moderation and a keen sense of balance. Menon steers clear of the traps in his way while delivering a sharply written, gripping thriller that rarely, if ever, flags.
Review by Ritika Handoo on Zeenews
Akshay is the hero of this film, hands down but not because he falls into the categorical space of what is defined as a hero’. He is the hero because he played a man, who in real life, stretch his boundaries for saving humanity. Akshay’s dedication and sincerity in portraying such roles with brilliance makes ‘Airlift’ have a safe landing even at the box office windows. A must watch for every Indian. Remember this will make you believe in what Indians can do when ‘united’. It can be your January 26—Republic Day delight with family!
Review by Shubha Shetty-Saha on Mid-Day India
This is, arguably, Akshay’s best performance till date. He is absolutely flawless as he moves from being a cool, practical businessman in control of his life to a selfless, emotional man of action. Nimrat Kaur, who plays Ranjit’s wife, is understated and only stands out in one scene where she confronts a dissenting gent in defence of her husband. Menon’s deft execution of the plot in hand, crisp editing (Hemanti Sarkar), dialogues which are perfectly tailored for the script, and good cinematography (Priya Seth) make this film a must watch. Don’t miss it.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Akshay impresses with his acting prowess, backed by an ensemble support cast including Prakash Belawadi, Inaamulhaq and Purab Kohli. Be it Prakash Belawadi who comes in the form of a cynical, old man who is simply not ready to acknowledge the Katiyal’s efforts or Inaamulhaq’s Iraqi soldier who enjoys the sudden turning of power equations or Purab Kohli’s ever-dedicated and silent character – they all make Airlift a far more relatable affair. However, Nimrat Kaur disappoints as his wife. Having seen her as the endearing housewife longing for love in The Lunchbox, her appearance as a decked-up bahu, straight out of TV soap opera with a penchant for cribbing looks superficial. It is only in one scene that we see the actor we know – her face-off with Belawadi. Turbulence aside, Airlift is an engaging movie that keeps it real, emotional and dramatic.
Review by Martin D’Souza on Glamsham
Akshay Kumar pulls off the salt-and-pepper look, playing his age to a nicety. His character is at an age where he will take no risk, yet have the intelligence to make the right, calculated moves. He is as lithe as he was in SPECIAL 26 and BABY, and as effective. After Menon, it is he who holds the film together with his stellar act. Just once he breaks into a dance, after that it is serious business. One thought that Nimrat Kaur would be a glamour piece in this film, but she pulls off her own in her limited space and screen time. Purab Kohli is the other surprise performer.
Review by Asira Tarannum on Deccan Chronicle
Coming to the glitches, one couldn’t understand when Akshay Kumar, who doesn’t approve of Hindi music, is seen shaking a leg on a song in the opening sequence of the film. The first half of the film moves smoothly but the hasty evacuation towards the end makes the story lose grip. This was a story waiting to be told, and it has been.
Review by Srijana Mitra Das on The Times Of India
Airlift works because it conveys a time when armies will attack civilians – you’re struck by how IS was born from the Iraqi army’s core – and raises Bollywood’s generic bar. Plus, it movingly celebrates the most beautiful flag in the world.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
This is a deftly done film, which does slide a little in the second half, but never abandons its mission: to tell a tale. Akshay Kumar leads from the front, but shares space when it is needed: Nimrat Kaur, in her second Hindi film after ‘The Lunchbox’, keeps pace with her co-star ; Inaamulhaq (so enjoyable in ‘Filmistaan’), as Saddam’s man-in-Kuwait, is suitably menacing, Belawadi as the annoying refugee really does make you want to slap him, Kohli is kohl-eyed and restrained and makes us feel for him, Mishra as the Dilli babu, disinterested at first, then taking charge, fits right in.
Review by Rajeev Masand on IBNLive
For the most part, the film feels authentic, and Nimrat Kaur blends right in. Just a wee bit awkward in the early scenes, she comes into her own by the time she must deliver a scathing monologue during a crisis of faith over her husband’s actions. But Airlift, expectedly, rests on Akshay Kumar’s shoulders, and he underplays the heroism beautifully, bringing quiet but steely resolve to the character, even delivering the stray note of humor almost conversationally. There’s almost none of his starry baggage in this performance, which easily counts amongst his best.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Based on the world’s largest civilian evacuation, director Raja Krishna Menon takes on this challenge of turning a story known to all into a compelling watch and pens a nail-biting plot that will keep you fearful, hopeful and yet, unsure and uncomfortable.
Review by Sonia Chopra on Sify
Akshay Kumar is fantastic as the businessman who turns into a hero in the moments of crisis. The character goes through an entire gamut of emotions, and Akshay comes out trumps. Kumud Mishra is masterful as the government official who tries his best to make a case for the trapped Indians. Nimrat Kaur impresses as the well-looked after wife who also surprises by displaying real grit by choosing to stay back with the other Indians. It’s an incredible story – one that makes you feel patriotic, but more importantly, reinforces your faith in humanity. And it makes you wonder – maybe there is a hero in all of us. Maybe!
Airlift Review by Indiaglitz
It has been a long time since a movie has managed to wake-up the Indian residing inside each of us and Airlift does just that. The movie speaks of the unparalleled courage of the unsung heroes that was long-lost in the history. Akshay Kumar, who plays the main protagonist, is better than apt for the role. No other actor could have played the part better than what he does. From displaying various emotions onscreen to expressing grief and rage with such perfection, Akshay is a treat to watch in every scene. Nimrat again is such a delight. The actress is expressive and how. She speaks with her eyes and sure needs to be seen a lot more in Bollywood. Rest of the cast including Feryna Wazheir, Inaamulhaq, Lena, Purab Kohli, Kumud Mishra and Prakash Belawadi throw in some fabulous acts and are perfect in their parts.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The turning point is good. The drama unfolds rather well on the screen. Akshay Kumar is so well-cast, you begin to appreciate his quiet ways. There are twists and turns and the selfish Indian refugees don’t make things easy. The supporting cast of the crotchety refugees (Mr. George and Mr Poonawala), the decent guys (Purab Kohli as the Supermarket lad, Akshay’s drinking buddies, the good chaps in the External Affairs ministry), the women who cook happily (and scream when face to face with Iraqi soldiers), the faceless numbers look part of the story.
Review by meeta on Wogma
This holds true of a few other scenes and situations too – a little stretched and repetitive. But fortunately, not enough to hamper the pace of the film too much. The climax seems a little rushed, but that is more about over-simplification than the pace of the film. Yet, Airlift doesn’t suffer too bad because of these issues. After all, anything that instills your faith in humanity can suffer only so much because things like pace and length. Especially, because these ‘too good to be true’ events are true.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
Airlift is not just a taut thriller and does send across a message about patriotism and unity without rubbing your nose in it. The background score and the cinematography does wonders for the plot and renders Airlift one of the most watchable films to have come out this year.