It is unusual for a new director to break into the Rs 100-crore club with a film that does not abide by time-honoured commercial parameters. Raja Krishna Menon achieved this with Airlift.
Over half a decade after he debuted with the off-beat Barah Aana (starring Naseeruddin Shah) in 2009, Menon managed to get his second film off the ground, fuelled by his conviction that the country was ready to watch a film on the daring operation that oversaw the evacuation of over one lakh Indians from Kuwait after the country was invaded in 1990. He said, “I thought it was one of the greatest achievements of India and it should be celebrated.”
Menon infused his film on the subject with a starkly realistic portrayal of the mental landscapes of hapless people trapped in a war-ravaged land. Add a gripping narrative, a judicious dollop of patriotism and the presence of a box office star like Akshay Kumar; and the result was not a niche film but a triumphant crowd pleaser!
Menon is now an established name in the Hindi film industry and has already bagged another film to be produced by T-Series. Early next year, we will find out if Airlift will fly with the awards committees too.