Finally, it is expected that Bollywood would have something to cheer about in 2016 when Airlift hits the screens this Friday. The film has been carrying tremendous hype, what with the promos getting a universal acceptance. Akshay Kumar has shown his mettle time and again, and with this particular genre pretty much getting patented against his name (case in point being Baby, and before that Holiday), audience expectations are pretty much set.
All of this has been made possible by one man, Raja Krishna Menon, who was convinced for many years that as a subject, Airlift carried enough potential for a larger mass. No wonder, Raja is ecstatic as the film comes closer to the release, more so since the reactions have been quite fantastic so far and the promos have managed over 97% acceptance likes all around.
"I am humbled, and honestly, this is something that I am finding it much harder to deal with," says Raja in a shy tone, "People are excited to see Airlift and that’s the best thing that a director can hope and pray for. I am told that there are so many people who normally don’t see Bollywood films regularly and even they are pretty much looking forward to catching it on the big screen."
He is happy that the coming together of Bollywood bigwigs like Akshay Kumar, Bhushan Kumar (of T-Series), Nikkhil Advani and Vikram Malhotra (of Abundantia Entertainment) has made it all possible.
"Totally," says Raja, "Due credit to the marketing team which has sat down and made sure to make such promotional material which is true to the film. Moreover, the kind of publicity blitzkrieg that has been put together coupled with the phenomenal release that we are getting this Friday is overwhelming."
What is also overwhelming is the fact that the film has an entirely new approach towards filmmaking, what with Akshay Kumar playing a hero in a zone which is mainly about the win of human spirit that towers over conventional villainy.
"You know, I will tell you something interesting," says Raja, "In most of my discussions with Akshay, he used to tell me that ‘What you are telling me is something that ‘Akshay Kumar’ will do. Tell me something that Ranjit Katyal would do in such a situation’. That was quite heartening as he was making such a conscious effort to move in the direction of the character, instead of being a heroic Akshay Kumar."
Talking fondly of his leading man, Raja adds, "Akshay committed himself to this journey which is about the story of Ranjit, the character, and has tapped into the space which doesn’t exist. The film is about the journey of a man who finds out what it is to be an Indian. He has done it all so beautifully that I don’t think you are going to see anything other than Ranjit on screen. It is an incredible achievement. His portrayal as Ranjit Katyal would be the talk of the town right through the year."
We look forward to that.