Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34 Takes Off, Here’s a Look at Other Aviation Films in Bollywood

Ajay Devgn starrer thriller Runway 34 has hit the theatres today. The film, also starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rakul Preet Singh, revolves around Captain Vikrant Khanna (played by Devgn), a flying prodigy, whose flight takes a mysterious course after take-off. While there is a lot of buzz around the movie, this isn’t the first film around aviation or flights. Before Runway 34, many movies explored similar subjects. We bring you a listicle of aviation films in Bollywood:

Zameen

The 2003 film starred Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, and Bipasha Basu in lead roles. Zameen sees Ajay in the role of Colonel Ranvir Singh Ranawat who arrests the terrorist group leader Baba Zaheer Khan (Mukesh Tiwari). Abhishek Bachchan essay the role of one of Ranvir’s subordinates, while Bipasha is seen in the role of Jaideep’s fianceè and an in-flight supervisor Nandini. The plot of the film is loosely based on the Indian Airlines Flight 814 hijacking though more closely represents the rescue mission taken by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in 1976 at Entebbe, Uganda where the IDF rescued 102 hostages taken by the PFLP-EO and the West German group Revolutionary Cells.

Hijack

The 2008 action-drama features Shiney Ahuja and Esha Deol in lead roles. The movie has a thrilling plot as it follows the journey of a widower Vikram Madan (Shiney) who shifts base from Delhi to Amritsar after his wife’s demise. Vikram joins a job as a mechanic at Chandigarh airport. His daughter informs him that she is on her way to Amritsar on a hostel trip on Indian Airlines Flight IC147. The situation turns upside down later as Vikram gets informed about the flight being hijacked by Islamic terrorists. They want the Indian government to release one of their comrades, Rashid Omar, or else they will start killing the passengers and crew one by one at half-hour intervals.

Airlift

Featuring Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur in lead roles, the movie is set against the backdrop of the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq which lead to the beginning of the Gulf War. In the movie, we see Akshay as a Kuwait-based businessman Ranjit Katyal as he carries out the evacuation of Indians based in Kuwait. The movie’s story is adapted from real-life story of a Kuwait-based Malayali businessman Mathunny Mathews. The movie hit the theatres in 2011.

Hawaizaada

The 2015 film, starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Pallavi Sharda and Mithun Chakraborty, is inspired by the biography of Shivkar Bapuji Talpade who claimed to have constructed and flown an unmanned, heavier-than-air aircraft in 1895. Contemporary accounts of a successful flight do not exist, and no reliable historical records document its existence. The plot of the film follows the journey of Talpade to successfully conduct a manned flight.

Neerja

This Sonam Kapoor starrer biographical movie is based on the life and times of flight attendant Neerja Bhanot. The film is based on a real-life event – the attempted hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan by the Libyan-backed Abu Nidal Organization on 5 September 1986. The movie sees Neerja (Sonam) as the head purser who thwarts the hijack attempt by alerting the pilots, thus grounding the plane. Sadly, Bhanot died trying to help save the passengers and crew, of whom 359 of the 379 onboard survived. This Sonam Kapoor starrer, released in 2016, is still known as one of the biggest hits of Sonam Kapoor’s career.

High Jack

A comedy stoner film, released in the year 2018, High Jack features Sumeet Vyas, Mantra and Sonnalli Seygall in lead roles. The movie follows the journey of an aspiring DJ who is duped by a conman and he inadvertently acts as drug mule. Sitations turn upside down when the flight he is on gets hijacked by a group of well-meaning employees of the aeroplane company and every one gets high on the drug.

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

Starring Janhvi Kapoor in the role, the biographical drama was released in the year 2020. The movies sees Janhvi as Indian Air Force pilot Gunjan Saxena, one of the first Indian female air-force pilots in combat. In the movie, Gunjan is seen breaking the shackles of gender construct and conquering the skies after going through rigorous efforts.

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