Airlift is making waves – and money – at the box office and the audience has been bowled over by the performances in the film. Apart from Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur, who play the lead roles, Inaamulhaq is also receiving a big applause for his performance. This week, we spoke to the actor about his journey with this film.
The response so far has been outstanding and I have been receiving positive feedback from the day the film released. The best response came from my mentor, Naseeruddin Shah, who met my director and asked, ‘Who played the Major?’ My director told him, ‘The guy from Filmistaan.’ He conveyed the message that he loved my performance. In National School of Drama, Naseer sir was my mentor and when your mentor praises your performance, you know you have nailed it. The response from the general audience has also been outstanding. Honestly, it has become difficult for me to handle my social media sites.
On bagging Airlift
I had met Raja through a common friend. At that time, I had narrated my script to him. He was looking for true-life incidents. We exchanged emails and I never heard from him again. But when my film Filmistaan released, I received an email from him, saying how much he liked my performance. When we met, he told me that whenever he makes a film, he would like me to feature in it. A few months later, I received a call from Raja’s office, saying he wanted to meet me the next day. I was in Saharanpur and had lost my father, so I told them I wouldn’t be able to make it for almost a month. Airlift was a big film and he could have cast anyone, but he waited for me, for a month. And that’s how I bagged the film.
My role demanded an Arab and I don’t know the language, so I prepped for the character, especially the accent. I gave the audition, which Raja liked. Two days after the audition, Raja called me and said that Akshay was asking him to cast someone from an Arab country but he forced him to see my audition. When Akshay saw the audition, he too was sure that I should do the film.
I was given an Arabic coach, so I prepped for the language. When you speak a language, the emotion should be consistent with it. I worked on that very hard. Second, my character is not a powerful man, he was a security guard and because everyone else quits, he becomes a Major. He is trying to take advantage of the situation and get some money. To get into that zone and learn how a shrewd man thinks, I watched many documentaries from Iraq and also Saddam Hussein and his son’s documentaries. That’s how I prepared for the character.