Airlift (2016)

Touted as ‘Akshay Kumar’s career best’ and other such superlatives, I was intrigued to watch it. Having grown up in the Gulf, and lived through a time like this (though only on the news), it was insightful to see a dramatised version of it.

Director Raja Krishna Menon has built an authentic Kuwait (in the tiny emirate of Ras Al Khaimah) and showed us the larger perspective of what happened during its invasion by Iraq. Though certain bits are given superficial treatment, the story as a whole works.

We all know what will happen at the end, but the tension in the plot is built well. I only wish certain proceedings were given the same treatment as most of the film, the weight of the subject matter would have hit us harder. There was a struggle but not enough, it was painful to watch but didn’t rouse emotion.

Akshay Kumar has done better work, though this one is no doubt sincere. He as usual carries the film on his shoulders, communicating a ‘changed man’ very well. Nimrat Kaur, another talented actor, has little screen time, but shows us her prowess too. Purab Kohli has a short but impactful role.

All in all, the film had some missing ingredients which would have made it a complete experience. It was a solid attempt, at a modest budget, a sensible strategy 🙂

3/5

Advertisement

Jal (2014)

The promos of this film showed the sweeping landscapes of the Kutch desert and ‘beautifully shot’ was a unanimous opinion before we entered the cinema. What remained to be seen was the story and its execution.

The plot was simple, real and rural. It does not come close to anything contemporary. If you can appreciate it for what it is, a tale of villagers shot for the multiplex audience, then you will like the film. The cinematography did not let my attention waver, as there were ample doses of drama interspersed with gorgeous natural scenes and time lapses.

Purab Kohli shines in a difficult role, playing a spectrum of emotions with ease. The director, Girish Malik, has put together a great cast who does their part well, but he doesn’t develop any one character in detail, giving them a ‘caricature like’ feel. They say their stories whilst making ‘jal/water’ the prime focus of survival in the desert.

The two leading ladies Tannishtha Chatterjee and Kirti Kulhari deserve special mention for their appropriate restrain and abandon when required. Overall, the language and diction could have been perfected and subtitles were definitely needed. It ties up well in the end, but could have been shorter. The background score is effective as is the track ‘jal de’.

It seemed like a film which should be edited for IMAX viewing, a short 60 minute feature where people can gasp in awe at one of the many untapped beauties of India.

2/5