Airlift has evidently won the hearts and minds of cine-goers, having made the most of the Republic Day patriotic fervor. But many are asking: To what extent is the film, which depicts the large-scale war-time evacuation of 1.70 lakh Indians from Kuwait in 1990, an accurate reflection of the event? The Ministry of External Affairs has put out an official statement saying that the film has been poorly researched and doesn't do justice to the Herculean effort that South Block put in to carry out what remains till date the largest civilian evacuation effort. Former diplomats have also reiterated this view, and even some civilians, who were part of the evacuation process, have shared their opinion on how the film strays from the reality that they had experienced. ...
Airlift deserves full credit for at least starting the conversation about this evacuation effort, which happened only two decades ago but had already been forgotten. Perhaps, the MEA's Public Diplomacy department should use this opportunity to commission a documentary on the episode, and indeed the many other evacuations that India has carried out over the years and across continents. Similarly, other film-makers too can follow suit and pick up the other stories that are waiting to be told from these operations — be they of Indian Government officials, evacuees or even foreign diplomats and leaders who may be involved.