Rewind to 1990: The Real Story Behind Airlift

In 1990, Ranjit Katyal heroically rescued 1,70,000 Indians during the Iraq-Kuwait war. 25 years later, Raja Krishna Menon is bringing this story to the masses.

Even though excitement levels are at fever pitch for Airlift, very few people know the haunting yet heroic true story behind the film. In fact, Akshay Kumar has talked at length about how more people need to be educated about the incident. "If you browse through World Guinness Book of Records, the biggest air evacuation was done by our beloved country, India," he said, adding that this was his primary reason for starring in the film.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Kuwaiti royal family escaped, leaving the country in shambles. All hell broke loose when the Iraqi army took over, subjecting innocent citizens of Kuwait to unspeakable atrocities. Though a lot has been said and written about the state of Kuwait at the time, very few people know that the Indians residing there were also rendered homeless.

Though these Indians appealed to the Embassy, political friction kept higher-ups from being able to rescue them. This is when Ranjit Katyal, a powerful Kuwaiti businessman, used his connections to rescue his fellow Indians. Along with the Indian government and Air India, Katyal orchestrated the largest civilian evacuation of all time. Over the course of the next 59 days, 1,70,000 Indians were evacuated on 488 flights. This is the feat that earned Air India a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.

This gripping tale is all set to hit the theaters in just a handful of days, letting us revisit a tale that will make us proud to be Indians again. After all, who wouldn’t be proud of one man fighting against all odds to save his compatriots?

Are you counting down the days to the film already? So are we. Until then, here’s the trailer for Airlift

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