Review: Airlift’s screenplay never takes off!

In one of the only emotional scenes of this movie, a very old Punjabi grandfather character (played wonderfully by the veteran Indian TV actor Arun Bali) speaks of the horrors of getting uprooted from what you once considered home, and being forced to leave everything behind. This scene is crucial in establishing why a certain Mr. Kohli (Kumud Mishra), a paper-pusher in the External Affairs Ministry Office, turns into one of the key figures in enabling the success of an impossible rescue mission. It is sad then, that Airlift, a movie based on true events of world’s largest civil evacuation could not evoke any further emotional hooks for me as a movie audience to remain invested or engaged. And yes, it even has a mini segment where we see the tricolour being hoisted and K.K. singing Vande Mataram. And even then, I did not participate in that moment of triumph. THAT is the biggest failure of the movie.

I am not for a single bit, attempting to undermine the real heroism of the true heroes who were involved in this rescue mission of 170,000+ Indians from war-torn Kuwait. I am in fact saying that a story as incredible as this deserves a much better movie than what it got in Airlift. It is a classic case of an ambitious director meeting an “out-of-their-league” story and getting overwhelmed by it. Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon along with his team of writers have put up a screenplay which can be the equivalent of a college play on opening rehearsal day, with a very rough first draft of a scribble on a tissue paper acting as a script.

Airlift_Poster - INTERNATIONAL


The narrative tries to introduce several characters into the plot – from the ever so grouchy George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi – Madras Cafe, Talvar), the unnecessary Mr. Poonawala, and the somewhat simmering and confusing love story of Ibrahim (Purab Kohli – Rock On). But none of them ever have a sub plot as such. There is no distinct payback that we as audience get from these plot threads. The trunk of the story tree is the man who is front and centre in the poster – Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katiyal. He is the Ship Captain who is reluctantly put in charge of the fate of 170,000+ Indians. And Akshay handles it as best as he can. But the screenplay again fails him.

In one of the scenes, Akshay’s wife played by Nimrat Kaur convinces him to go to the docks – because he is a negotiator. And there is hardly anything following that scene which highlights this very characteristic of Mr. Katiyal. On the other hand, there is a scene where Akshay goes gung-ho and attacks a bunch of check-point gunned security guards, and even manages to threaten them. It seemed like Katiyal was playing Akshay for that moment, and not the other way around. We are told of Rajiv Katiyal being a businessman through and through. But in the face of such hardships, there is hardly any conversation in the movie that is scripted as one that demanded special skills. The Iraqi General played by Inaamulhaq (Filmistan), is layered in poor and generic Middle Eastern accent, and is a character written as a caricature. And hence, there is no sense of threat or perhaps, we have all seen this done way better in many other movies and TV shows.

The female lead in the movie, Nimrat Kaur seemed like one of the stereotypical naggy Indian housewife for most of the movie. She’s pretty glammed up for a woman stuck in war-torn Kuwait. But I assume, the writers felt compelled to give her something more than just that. And by virtue of that, she gets one scene which showcases glimpses of the actor we liked so much in The Lunch Box.

But my biggest complaint from this movie, is that being titled Airlift, the movie spends a total of only 2 minutes speedily narrating about the mega-operation taken up by Air India who managed to “airlift” the 170,000+ Indians from Jordan. Perhaps, that wasn’t as exciting on paper as Akshay punching dudes in sandy desert. And let’s not even get started on that cringe-worthy remix of Khaled’s Didi .

This one is not even for a lazy matinee.


Airlift is directed by Raja Krishna Menon and stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur (Homeland, The Lunchbox).

The film releases internationally on on the 22nd of January in the UK.

You can find more of Sujoy’s work on BollyPop or OneKnightStands or Follow him on twitter on @9e3K.




Quantico Ep 1 & 2 Upodcast Review

Priyanka Chopra US TV debut Quantico is a big deal! So much so that we needed to dedicate an hour just to dissect the first 2 episodes.

We’re joined by Jay also known as @Bollybrit (Nominated as a finalist in the Best Blog Category at this year’s Asian Media Awards!) who is a pretty big Priyanka Chopra fan and of course Martin who saw her in our first ever Upodcast episode of Kaminey but had lost any recollection of seeing the movie.

We talk about why Quantico is important from a diversity perspective as well as stepping stone for Bollywood. We review the first 2 episode in more detail, speak about the general intrigue, the action set pieces and how it stacks up to contemporary shows like Scandal and How to Get Away from Murder.

We wrap up the podcast by talking about which level of Bingeability the show has and which other actors could possibly make the jump to Hollywood too.

Check out more of Jay’s work on his blog on

You can listen/stream or download the episode below.

Or subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss a show.

Win Jaanisaar’s soundtrack on CD!

People have been raving about the music of Muzaffar Ali’s Jaanisaar for a while now and here is your chance to win 1 of 3 CD’s of the soundtrack with Upodcast.


To win a copy:

1. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter:

2. Send us an email on with the answer to the following (dead easy!) question:

Which 1981 Bollywood film did the ‘Jaanisar’ director Muzaffar Ali direct?

A. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar

B. Umrao Jaan

C. Silsila

(Winners will be announced Tuesday 12/8)

(Only UK entries apply -but if you’re nice and I like you, I might make an exception!)

Jaanisar stars Pakistani actor Imran Abbas and one of India’s leading style icons and fashion entrepreneurs Pernia Qureshi.

Playback singers for the soundtrack of the film have some of the most celebrated singers of the music industry like Abida Parveen, Shreya Ghoshal and Sukhwinder Singh. Music is by Muzaffar Ali as well as Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan. It truly has some great music.

It’s pretty much the type of music you should be listening to instead of whatever guitly pleasure is looping on your playlist now!

Jaanisaar is in theaters this Friday!

Katti Batti Images and Promos

I really hope for Imran Khan’s career that things turn around a little. We’ve always liked the guy, and have even spoken to him quite a few time snow but his last few movies really haven’t worked at the box office and attaching the faith of your comeback to anunreliable director like Nikhil Advani is a bit troublesome.

But the ace in the sleeve is of course Kangana Ranaut, a lady who seems to do no wrong (or if she does, we as an audience just keep moving like nothing happened).

Katti Batti seems to be a straight forward rom com and our friend @bollybrit pointed out that it does have some shades of 500 days of summer.

Here are some promos and images:

Katti Batti 1 Katti Batti 2 Katti Batti 3 Katti Batti 4 Katti Batti Poster



Katti Batti is a modern day romance that traces young architect Madhav Kabra’s (Imran Khan) love for the free-spirited Payal (Kangana Ranaut). They make for a perfect couple until a sudden turn of events creates an unanswered distance between them. What follows is a series a events that tests the fate of their relationship.

Katti Batti starring Imran Khan and Kangana Ranaut, directed by Nikhil Advani, the film releases on September 18.

FilmBlog: L´Arnacoeur (HeartBreaker)

is a French movie with a
mistranslated English title
starring French Heart throb and box office golden boy Romain Duris and the lovely singer-actress
Vanessa Paradis. It tells the story of a Alex
Lippi, playboy for hire specializing in breaking up relationships where the
woman is unhappy or in a relationship with someone who isn´t worthy of her.
Usually this happens at the behest of a family member who feels someone needs
to just “open their eyes” and Alex does this eye opening through the
power of seduction, setting up elaborate romantic scenarios aided by his sister
played by Julie Ferrier, recently seen as an acrobat in Mic Macs, and
Brother-in-law Marc, played by the hilarious Francois Damiens (JCVD).

Alex is coerced into taking on a most recent
assignment to break up Juliete Van Den Bergh, daughter of an all round
influential and shady crime boss, who is about to marry her seemingly perfect
English fiancee. You can guess pretty much what happens next but the true
strength of this movie is how it has handled a storyline which would be hackneyed
in anyone except Laurent Zeitoun and Jeremy Doner script. Like Zeitoun’s
previous effort “Prete-moi ta main”, he is able to add a lot of zing
to the usual Rom-com. Check out our full review after the jump!

too bon?

Well, it really is the treatment, At the start of the movie Alex narrates in a snappy
voice-over that he has a certain set of rules when doing his business. You know
he’s going to break every single one of those rules. You know Alex and Juliete
will fall in love eventually even after most of Alex’s set ups back fire in the
most painfully cringe worthy ways. We know there will be a weepy feel good
ending but the way this movie get’s to that is so refreshing and zippy that you
applaud the scriptwriters.

Romain Duris has been a critics favorite since “The Beat My Heart Skipped”
which I found highly overrated (listen to my rant on director Jacques Audiard
in Episode 4 of Upodcast with special guest Loops)
but here he is the main star and the movie is pretty much stand on his
shoulders. Alex is a character that fails in front of our eyes many times and
that’s why we find him appealing. He also manages to shake a leg although he is
nowhere ready to take on our Bollywood heroes or even Patrick Swayze ( known for throat ripping in Road House).

He is also supported by a hilarious cast of comedic side-kicks with special
mention to the beautiful Héléna Noguerra playing the ditzy and slightly slutty
best friend of Vanessa Paradis’ character and as mentioned above the Francois
who manages to pull off some of the most insane accents and
get ups in this movie. Both actors are Belgians which is kinda weird when you
think about it as they do bring most of the laughs.

What’s pas si bon?

First the character of Juliete Van Den Bergh played by songstress Vanessa Paradis is
never properly sketched out. Mrs Jonny Depp is a very proficient actress as we
have seen in “Les Noces Blanches” and the heartbreaking
“Eliza”, with the ever watchable Gerard Depardieu,but unfortunately
she is never able to rise above the aloofness and distance her character
creates. You never truely understand her motivations for loving one man and
then the other. And overall she is actually quite selfish for no good reason. I
have to add I am a huge fan of Vanessa Paradis and I have taken much shit for
making this claim boldly and openly but she manages to hypnotize me and maybe
her bare back yoga pose in 90’s International pop-hit “Be My Baby”
was part of my journey of self-discovery as a bouyant heterosexual male. So
every frame she was in, I was glued to although I never really understood what
Juliete was all about and why these men love her.

I think most of the blame lies with the director who honestly doesn’t shine as
much as his script. Although the locations are beautiful and so are the stars, Francois
never delivers on the promise to the audience. He has
assisted Luc Besson on a few of his films but is mostly
known for TV work. His is a name I will not be looking up although now that the
movie is finding an International audience (Picked up by IFC)  he is getting most of the praise.

Verdict Finale

If you are looking for a rom-com that manages to offer something fresh, is
breezily paced packed with laughs and beautiful stars and locations go watch
this movie.

It will offer you something new in a genre that usually isn’t the most refreshing.
Another good reason to watch this now in French is that it probably will get
remade in one way or the other. It’s just is that kind of movie.

For our Bollywood fans there are 2 scenes in this movie that are very reminiscent
of Dil hai ke Manta Nahin
and Kites, do let us know if you pick up on them in the comments section below!

I am off to watch screenshots of Vanessa Paradis now and listen to Be My baby,
what can i say I love the crooning!


Enhanced by Zemanta