Take Off, A Malayalam film by editor-turned-filmmaker Mahesh Narayanan, is based on the real incident of forty-six Indian Nurses being rescued from Tikrit (Iraq) in 2014. These nurses were initially stranded at a hospital in Tikrit and later moved to Mosul, then to Erbil from where they were flown into Kerala on a special aircraft arranged by the Indian Government. The then Chief Minister Uman Chandy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, her officials and Indian Ambassador in Iraq Ajay Kumar were instrumental in this evacuation of nurses. It is heartening to see that stories based on such real incidents are being made. Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur’s Airlift (2016 Hindi film) was another brilliant film by Raja Krishna Menon, which was based on the evacuation of 1,70,000 Indians during 1990 Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait. ‘Take off’ takes us through the ordeal of people stranded in Iraq when the ISIS invaded Iraq in 2014. Take off is an equally brilliant effort as that of Airlift, rather, it is even more realistic. The challenge with such real life stories is to make it close to reality as well as engaging for the audience. Mahesh Narayanan has executed it brilliantly.
Sameera (Parvathy) is a nurse who is struggling hard to make both ends meet for herself and her family. Her marriage to Faizal (Asif Ali) could not be successful which led to their divorce. She is shown to be in a frustrated mood in the initial frames, although she does not allow this to hamper her work. She aspires to travel abroad to Iraq so that she can earn more and look after her family well. Shaheed (Kunchako Boban), a male nurse in the same hospital, is keen to get married to Sameera, but she in her grumpy mood keeps rejecting Shaheed. But later, she decides to give herself a second chance by getting married to Shaheed. Both of them along with their other colleagues get visa to travel to Iraq. Life was certainly not easy at Iraq for them, had to live amongst gunshots, bomb blasts and look after badly injured patients. Situations in Iraq kept on deteriorating further. The war zone had made Sameera’s external world full of chaos but a new life was there within her. Her son Ibrahim from first marriage joins her in Iraq. Crisis enhances to a level where every single moment was turning more and more challenging for everyone out there. Life was under threat. Situations separate Sameera and Shaheed.
There begins the story of survival amidst this crisis and frantic search of Shaheed by Sameera. She goes to Indian Embassy for help and that is where Manoj (Fahad Faasil) enters into the scene as Indian Ambassador to Iraq. How the story moves further? How do the nurses survive in this crisis ? Does Sameera get lucky and able to locate Shaheed? How does Indian Government act for this rescue operation ? What timely as well as risky decisions led to the rescue ?
Fahad has given another brilliant performance. Parvathy as Sameera has given a stellar performance, exceptionally well. Kunchako Boban is extremely good in his role. Prakash Belwadi as superior to Fahad’s character Manoj is wonderful. Asif has less screen time yet very much noticeable. Master Eric (Ibrahim) plays a pivotal role.
‘Take off’ really shines due to superb execution. The strength of the film is that it is very close to reality. Brilliant and natural acting by its cast ensures smooth ‘Take off’ of the film. A must-watch film which would certainly touch your hearts.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good+)
Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page
Cast: Kunchako Boban (Shaheed), Parvathy (Sameera), Fahad Faasil (Manoj), Prakash Belawadi (Ranjan), Asif Ali (Faizal), Anjali Aneesh, Master Eric (Ibrahim), Prem Prakash (Jaymohan)
Direction: Mahesh Narayanan
Written by: Mahesh Narayanan, PV Shajikumar
Produced by: Anto Joseph, Shebin Backer in association with Rajesh Pillai Films
Duration: 2 hours 19 minutes
Release Date: 24th March, 2017