The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said Akshay Kumar's latest film Airlift has taken artistic liberties with facts and actual events, undermining the government’s massive efforts in carrying out the world's largest civilian air evacuation mission in 1990.
“Airlift is great entertainment but rather short on facts,” tweeted MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup.
Swarup was seemingly determined to clear the air and debunk the misconceptions about the government’s role in 1990 airlift of Indians from Kuwait during the Gulf war.
"One, the fact that such a theme has been selected for a film shows how important it is. We at the ministry of external affairs consider the protection of Indian citizens abroad as among our foremost responsibilities,” Swarup said in a video statement shared on the social media.
"Second, this is a film. Now, films often take liberties with actual events, with facts and this particular film has also taken a lot of artistic liberties in the depictions of the events that actually happened in Kuwait in 1990," added Swarup.
He noted that those who remember the 1990 operation would know the proactive role played by MEA in ensuring safe evacuation of the stranded Indians.
“The official Indian delegation that was sent to Baghdad and Kuwait and the coordination that was put in place with the civil aviation ministry, Air India and a host of other government departments. I myself can vouch for this as I myself was on the frontline of evacuating Indians from Kuwait who were coming to Turkey via Syria,” he said.
"Third, those of you who may not remember the 1990 evacuation will certainly remember the more remember the more recent evacuations that the ministry of external affairs had coordinated from Iraq, from Libya, from Yemen and from Ukraine," he added.
He also hoped that the film would inspire people to read more about the actual events that took place and the proactive role of the government played to protect the interests of its citizens who live and work aboard.
Airlift, which was released last week, has been receiving a good response at the box office. The film directed by Raja Krishna Menon is based on the Indian government’s mission that evacuated 170,000 people of Indian origin through 488 flights from Kuwait during the war.