Another Bollywood effort at translating reality into reel-ity

This time it is an incident at Cochin airport that had engaged live news channels for quite a while, not too long back.


By Screen Shot

The Bollywood trend of turning true incidents into hit movies continues. This time it is an incident at Cochin airport that had engaged live news channels for quite a while, not too long back.

Runway 34 is a Bollywood drama movie directed and produced by Ajay Devgn under the banner Ajay Devgn fFilms and Panorama Studios. The movie stars Amitabh Bachchan, Rakul Preet Singh and Ajay Devgn in the lead roles. Runway 34 is inspired by this real incident of how a Boeing 737–800 aircraft narrowly escaped from bad weather and unclear visibility after facing difficulties to land at the Cochin International Airport.

Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan reunite in this film after 7 years. Previously, they’ve worked in Major Saab, Hindustan Ki Kasam, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Khakee, Aag and Bol Bachchan.

Inspired by the real incident of the 2015 Doha-Kochi flight emergency landing, the film centers on Captain Vikrant Khanna (Ajay Devgan) and his co-pilot Tanya Albarkarki (Rakul Preet Singh). Captain Vikrant and Tanya, like every day, fly a flight from Dubai to Kochi with 150 passengers. There is a mother travelling alone on this flight with her young child, an elderly mother with asthma, a social media influencer, and an airways journalist.

Everything is going on as usual, but when this plane reaches its destination, i.e. Kochi airport, something happens which no one could have imagined. Due to very bad weather in Kochi, it was not possible to land the flight.

Vikrant tries to land anyhow, but does not succeed due to lack of visibility. He has to take the flight to another place. Here, the fuel starts running out in the plane. In such a situation, he has to make an emergency landing without permission.

With this film, Ajay Devgn takes back the reins of direction after six years of ‘Shivaay’ and he surprises in this role. As stylish as an actor in front of the camera, he has taken some equally smart shots from behind the camera. The opening scene of the film, in which the camera pans through the runway towards ATC i.e. Air Traffic Control, looks classy.

At the same time, the scenes of the landing of the flight before the interval stop the breath. The credit for this goes to great cinematography by Aseem Bajaj and background music by Amar Mohile, apart from excellent VFX.

Even though its runtime is about two hours and 28 minutes, it doesn’t feel that long, and is engaging in both thrill and drama departments in equal measures. Performances by Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani and Ajay are well-composed and on-point with their characters. The music interspersed with the story also lends itself well to the proceedings. All in all, as long as this flight is in the air, its flight is made to be seen, but when it leaves ‘Runway 34’ in the second half, its excitement is reduced to the inquiry room.

The story of Sandeep Keolani and the script co-written with Amil Kiaan Khan fails to create an edge in the debate on whether Vikrant is Hero or Villain, whether he saved the lives of his passengers or put them in danger.

A conscientious man, Narayan is all taunts, anger and intimidation in shudh Hindi. Bachchan plays his role with admirable verve and relishes the film’s only high-point. Because even other seasoned performers, such as Boman Irani, look like overacting embarrassments. Singh’s Tanya is quite unconvincing, too, and the only interesting (if not credible) thing about her character is her last name. She corrects Vikrant and Narayan when they mispronounce it (her colleague calls it “Alber-cocky”), trying hard to inject humour in an insipid fare.

Box office
While on the opening day it earned Rs 3.50 crores, on the 3rd day the film managed to collect Rs 7.50 crore.

The film was originally titled Mayday. The official announcement of the film was made on November 7, 2020 and principal photography began on December 11, 2020 in Hyderabad. In November 2021, the name of the upcoming film was changed to Runway 34. The film was wrapped on December 17, 2021

Runway 34 has been made on an overall budget of Rs 65 Crores including promotions and the interest cost due to delay in release due to Covid. Ajay being the producer has not taken any salary.

Name of movie: Runway 34

Release: (April 29) at theatres

Star Cast
Amitabh Bachchan as Narayan Vedant, Ajay Devgn as Captain Vikrant Khanna, Rakul Preet Singh as Tanya Albuquerque, Boman Irani, Sharik Khan as News Reporter, Angira Dhar as Lawyer, Aakanksha Singh as Vikrant Khanna’s Wife, CarryMinati, Angira Dhar as Radhika Roy.
Director:  Ajay Devgn
Producer: Ajay Devgn
Writer: Sandeep Kewlani
Music: Sachin–Jigar
Runtime : 2h 28min
Production House: Ajay Devgn FFilms , Panorama Studios