‘Airlift’ starring Akshay Kumar took artistic liberties, says Foreign Ministry

Airlift revolves around the evacuation of Indians from Kuwait during the 1990 Gulf war

By: IANS | New Delhi | Updated: January 29, 2016 11:03 am
airlift, airlift Akshay Kumar, airlift Ministry of External Affairs, akshay kumar airlift, kuwait evacuation, nimrat kaur, airlift film ‘Airlift’ starring Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar, which revolves around the evacuation of Indians from Kuwait during the 1990 Gulf war, took artistic liberties with actual events, the external affairs ministry said on January 28.

Akshay Kumar’s latest Bollywood offering “Airlift”, which revolves around the evacuation of Indians from Kuwait during the 1990 Gulf war, took artistic liberties with actual events, the external affairs ministry said on January 28.

“One, the fact that such a theme has been selected for a film shows how important it is,” ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a statement following what he called a lot of queries being received on the role played by the ministry during the evacuation.

“We at the ministry of external affairs consider the protection of Indian citizens abroad as among our foremost responsibilities,” he said.

He said the ministry has done this in the past and would continue to do so in the future as well.

Read ‘Airlift’ movie review

“Second, this is a film. Now, films often take liberties with actual events, with facts and this particular film has also taken a lot of artistic liberties in the depictions of the events that actually happened in Kuwait in 1990,” said Swarup, whose 2005 novel “Q&A” was turned into Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” by director Danny Boyle.

He said those who remember the 1990 evacuation “would also know the very proactive role played that the ministry of external affairs played”.

He recalled the official Indian delegation that was sent to Baghdad and Kuwait and the coordination that was put in place with the civil aviation ministry, Air India and a number of other government departments.

“I myself can vouch for this as I myself was on the frontline of evacuating Indians from Kuwait who were coming to Turkey via Syria,” Swarup said.

“Third, those of you who may not remember the 1990 evacuation will certainly remember the more recent evacuations that the ministry of external affairs had coordinated from Iraq, from Libya, from Yemen and from Ukraine,” he said.

At the same time, he expressed the hope that “Airlift” would inspire people to read more about the actual events that took place and “the very proactive role that the ministry of external affairs always played in safeguarding the interest, and concerns and the security of Indian citizens who live and work abroad”.

Swarup tweeted saying that the film was “great entertainment but rather short on facts”.

Directed by Raja Krishna Menon, “Airlift”, which also stars “The Lunchbox” actress Nimrat Kaur, tells the story of how the Indian government evacuated 170,000 people of Indian origin and also of other nationalities through 488 flights during the war.

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  1. R
    Rajesh
    Jan 29, 2016 at 5:46 am
    MEA could have made it simple and just said its a Bollywood "film" and no one expects realism, sense or logic from Bollywood.
    Reply
    1. D
      disgusted
      Jan 29, 2016 at 4:24 am
      Mr Swaroop didn't make similar comments on Slumdog millionaire though which too took many liberties and was based on his memoirs!
      Reply
      1. S
        sameer
        Jan 31, 2016 at 2:03 am
        Ranjit Katyal's character as mentioned in the end credits mentions is based on two people...a Mr. Matthews and a Mr. Vedi. These two gentleman's en devours are shown in the movie. And the movie realistically captures the events and happenings as it happened then. Some government officials are feeling offended very clearly. I think the culprit are now feeling bad that they did not rise to the occasion quickly. Airlift is a fantastic movie and I see that some Govt. officials who did not rise to the occasion are feeling exposed and are trying to run down the movie. My father was in Kuwait during the war and we had not had information on him for almost 3 weeks or so. Then he called and told us he was in Jordan waiting to be Airlifted. There was lot of confusion and not enough clarity of the foreign policy at that time. The film is a cinematic depiction of the time and how two people namely Mr. Matthews and Mr. Vedi, whose story is embodied in the character of Mr. Kathyal, who help and the likes of Mr. Sanjeev Kholi in the Govt. , who go out of the way to make the evacuation possible and also thereby help create history. It is undoubtedly the likes of Mr Sanjeev Kholi who should be celebrated, but who silently stand on the sidelines while the more important ministers hogged the limelight of the media. Airlift salutes people like Mr. Kholi. And now some who enjo the limelight but did not do enough initially is trying to run down Airlift, with the help of the media. Airlift is the story of the biggest evacuation in human history and has earned a name for itself in Guinness Book of World records. Airlift tells the story of how India evacuated 170, 000 people from Kuwait to India during the attack and capture of Kuwait by Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein. Now the film shows that there were some callous govt officials wh dillyed initially . But it gloriously portrays some like Joint Secretary Sanjeev Kholi who zealously made it possible to evacuate the Indians. And you can expect good and bad examples during such a situation because of the unexpected situation. Airlift is a tribute to those Indian officials like Sanjeev Kholi who made history possible. So I don't see why people in the bureaucracy is feeling offended. Or is it that some are feeling exposed now?
        Reply
        1. S
          sameer
          Jan 29, 2016 at 11:46 am
          Ranjit Katyal's character as mentioned in the end credits mentions is based on two people...a Mr. Matthews and a Mr. Vedi. These two gentleman's en devours are shown in the movie. And the movie realistically captures the events and happenings as it happened then. Some government officials are feeling offended. I think the culprits are now feeling bad that they did not rise to the occasion quickly. Airlift is a fantastic movie and I see that some Govt. officials who did not rise to the occasion are feeling exposed and are trying to run down the movie. My father was is Kuwait during the war and we had not information on him for almost 3 weeks or so. Then he called and told us he was in Jordan waiting to be Airlifted. Airlift is the story of the biggest evacuation in human history and has earned a name for itself in Guinness Book of World records. Airlift tells the story of how India evacuated 170, 000 people from Kuwait to India during the attack and capture of Kuwait by Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein. Now the film shows that there were some callous govt officials who dillyed initially . But it gloriously portrays some like Joint Secretary Sanjeev Kholi who zealously made it possible to evacuate the Indians. And you can expect good and bad examples during such a situation because of the unexpected situation. Airlift is a tribute to those Indian officials like Sanjeev Kholi who made history possible. So I don't see why people in the bureaucracy is feeling offended. Or is it that some are feeling exposed now?
          Reply