Akshay Kumar, who is busy with multiple projects, has been confirmed to play the lead in director Raja Krishna Menon’s Airlift. Interestingly, Menon belongs to a very different kind of cinema from what Kumar is associated with, having made critically acclaimed movies like Barah Aana that captured the life of three hard working men in Mumbai, one played by Naseeruddin Shah and the Nandita Sen starrer Bas Yun Hi. “Raja has done different kind of cinema and we have joined hands with him because he brings credibility to a film. The story was conceived by him and developed in partnership with Nikhil (Advani),” informed Monisha Advani, Nikhil’s sister and co-producer of the film.
She goes on to say that so impressed was Akshay Kumar with Menon’s story idea that not only did he agree to act in the film, he also came on board as a co-producer. The film, which will focus on real life stories of Indians evacuated from Kuwait after the city was attacked by the Iraqis in 1990, will be co-produced by Akshay Kumar’s Cape Of Good Hope, T-Series, Crouching Tigers a subsidiary of Vikram Malhotra (ex-head Viacom 18), and Nikhil and Monisha’s Emmay Entertainment.
In Airlift, Kumar will play Ranjit Katyal, a wealthy and powerful Indian businessman, based in Kuwait and one who always identified himself as a Kuwaiti rather than an Indian. During the attack, he realises that he no longer wields any influence on the Iraqis and that he and his family are in as much danger as anyone else. As a series of incidents unfold, Katyal unknowingly becomes the man whom the 1,70,000 Indian expatriates rely on to get them safely out of Kuwait, travelling 1000 km through Jordan to reach India.
“Akshay, who was our first and only choice has never played this kind of a heroic character before,” said Advani.
The principal photography of the film will start in April 2015 in the Middle East and a large portion will be shot on authentic locations. “We cannot disclose the locations for security reasons, but we are working with several government agencies to get their support.”