Bollywood blockbuster ‘airlift’ irks Government of India

airliftA hit film of Bollywood about the evacuation of more than 170,000 Indians in Kuwait in 1990 has angered the government with its interpretation of the country’s diplomats as selfish and insensitive, reports BSS.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs took the unusual step of issuing a statement on
“Airlift”, a fictional account of the rescue mission in real life that was released last week to rave reviews.
Sample Indian diplomats leaving Kuwait shortly after the invasion that sparked the first Gulf war, and portrays the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New Delhi as apathetic to the desperate pleas of migrant Indian workers trapped there.
“Airlift Film: Great entertainment, but rather short on facts,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted Thursday night.
“The films often liberties with the facts, facts are made,” Swarup said –
– Whose own novel was made into the hit movie “Slumdog Millionaire” – said in a statement recorded video.
“And this particular movie had … a lot of artistic freedom in the representation of the events as they really happened in Kuwait in 1990.”
The mission of 1990, which lasted nearly two months and requires around 500 flights, remains the largest air evacuation of India ever and a source of pride to its diplomatic corps.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to issue a statement after the receipt of requests to speak to a “nonexistent” diplomat who was portrayed in the film, a senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“Given the hold of Bollywood on the popular imagination, we thought it would be best to recount the facts – it was an effort to stellar team of diplomats, bureaucrats, Air India pilots and active citizens in the region that ensures greater evacuation in history, “he said.
Swarup added: “We hope the film will inspire people to read about real events that took place.”
The Foreign Ministry statement also reminded citizens of their recent evacuations of thousands of Indian warriors affected parts of Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
However, about 40 Indian construction workers working in Mosul have been missing since June 2014, when the Islamic State captured the Iraqi city.