Airlift

MOVIE PLOT

In 1990 Kuwait, Indian businessman Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) is a successful Kuwait-based businessman who is very well-connected with Kuwait and Iraq, and makes a happy home with his wife Amrita (Nimrat Kaur) and their little daughter Simu. He calls himself a Kuwaiti and is often derisive towards Indians.

After a night of partying, Ranjit is woken up to a phone call from his friend and receives word that negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait have collapsed, and Iraqi troops have begun their invasion of Kuwait. Iraq owes a large debt to Kuwait after the Iran–Iraq War and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq had urged Kuwait during earlier talks to reduce their oil supply so prices can rise in the market and Iraq can stabilize their economy. When Kuwait refused, and began slant-drilling into Iraqi oil fields, Saddam ordered the attack. That morning, Ranjit discovers that Kuwait is now mostly overrun by the Iraqi Army. Ranjit and Nair, his driver, go out and drive to the Indian embassy in an attempt to take their family and leave Kuwait. They are eventually stopped by Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint and Nair is shot dead amidst the confusion. A shocked Ranjit is then taken to the Emir’s palace. There he meets Iraqi Republican Guard officer Major Khalaf bin Zayd (Inaamulhaq), who reveals that he was the one who pulled up to the checkpoint earlier and prevented Ranjit from any harm. Major Khalaf, who knows Ranjit from Ranjit’s visits to Iraq, chides him but extends his personal friendship, ensuring Ranjit and his family’s safety from the soldiers.

From there, Ranjit goes to the Indian embassy where he learns that the Kuwaiti government has fled. Some 170,000 Indians in Kuwait are now stranded as refugees. Iraqi forces continue to push through Kuwait and eventually Ranjit’s mansion is broken into, but his wife and child manage to escape to his office. Ranjit convinces his friends to work together, and they set up a makeshift camp for some 500 Indians with Major Khalaf’s permission. Amrita urges Ranjit to use his leverage to extricate his own family but Ranjit, who ordinarily would have just looked out for himself, appears to have a change of heart. He decides to stay and help the other Indians get out of Kuwait.

Ranjit learns that the Indian embassy in Kuwait has been evacuated and phones the Indian External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi, where he reaches the Joint Secretary, Sanjiv Kohli (Kumud Mishra), and asks for arrangements to be made for the evacuation. Later on, the camp is looted by Iraqi soldiers, terrifying everyone in it. Ranjit pays a visit to Major Khalaf and talks to him about this, to which the Major simply extends his apologies, and also reveals that President Saddam has already permitted Indians to leave Kuwait, but the problem is that they have no way to do so. Ranjit travels to Baghdad to try and set up a way out of Kuwait but the Indian embassy there is of no help. The only remaining option, Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, turns out to be helpful. He discloses that an Indian merchant ship is due to arrive in Iraq with various supplies, and permits the Indian refugees to leave on the ship. However, Ranjit later receives news that there is a UN embargo and ships are barred from entering or leaving Iraq, effectively crushing their hopes of getting out.

Meanwhile, Kohli is somewhat of a sluggard, but when his father (Arun Bali) recounts their tale of woe during the partition of India, Kohli is inspired to actively help Ranjit. He approaches the national airline, Air India, to orchestrate an evacuation of the 170,000 Indians in Kuwait and gets the Indian embassy at Amman, Jordan to issue permits. As the Indians leave Kuwait, Ranjit comes across yet another checkpoint where he encounters hostile Iraqi soldiers who, in absence of any passports or IDs, threaten to kill Amrita. The hostilities escalate into a skirmish between Ranjit and the soldiers, following which the people in Ranjit’s convoy come forward and outnumber the Iraqi soldiers. Ranjit lets them live and the convoy passes. They arrive in Jordan and Air India and Indian Airlines supplies the planes and pilots to fly the Indians back. The Indians salute Ranjit as they board the planes that will take them home.

Airlift MOVIE PHOTOS & VIDEOS

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