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Runway 34 Movie Review: Ajay Devgn’s aviation drama keeps you hooked till the end

Modified On: 29 April 2022 | Reviewed By:

Storyline: Captain Vikrant and first officer Tanya Alburqurquee find themselves riled in an investigation following a Mayday call before landing an aircraft in testing conditions. Whether the pilots aptly justify or not their actions and make their way back into the cockpit is the story.

Runway 34

Director: Ajay Devgn | Music Director: Jasleen Royal

Runway 34 Movie Poster

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Runway 34 Movie Review: Runway 34 is based on the story of the narrow escape that a flight from Doha to Kochi had a few years ago due to unclear visibility and bad weather conditions. Captain Vikrant Khanna (Ajay Devgn) is a high-flying pilot who is confident and borderline arrogant about his abilities, especially to handle turbulence and crisis at 35000 feet above sea-level.

On what starts off as a routine trip from Dubai to Cochin, he encounters torrid weather conditions. Much against the suggestions of his first officer Tanya Alburqurque (Rakul Preet Singh), not only does he change the flight’s alternate destination but eventually sends out the ‘May Day’ message just before landing the flight, a few inches shy of a crash. How the investigation in the matter pans out forms a considerable part of the narrative.

Ajay Devgan’s directorial is a first in many ways for Hindi cinema, and a clear and pleasant departure from his previous attempts to helm the megaphone. His growth as a storyteller is hard to miss. The cutting-edge visual treatment of the narrative, a crisp story (Sandeep Kewlani) and screenplay (Sandeep and Aamil Keeyan Khan) with no undue romantic and dramatic digressions or interludes, smart utilisation of VFX, moments of thrill that bring one to the closure of the first half, the sound and production design of the film are just some of the plus points of the movie.

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.

ith all these positiv points, there could have been more drama and layering to the trial-led second half. To begin with, even as the screenplay continues to closely examine whether it was the weather conditions or the mindspace of the pilot that led to the ‘MayDay’ call, it misses addressing a few crucial questions. One of them, for instance, is why the pilot chose not to divert to the flight’s designated alternate destination despite being prompted by his first officer? And why was this angle not prodded sufficiently in the course of a closed-door trial?

Smaller supporting characters like the aviation journalist, the irate businessman and the guy recording videos on his phone in the flight felt like they would have more purpose in the trial portions. Also, though Boman Irani makes his presence felt he doesn’t have much scope to perform. Rakul, performs her part with complete honesty. Angira Dhar and Aakanksha Singh could have done with chunkier parts to play and contribute more to the narrative, too.

However, Runway 34 should be experienced for the way it depicts one of the scariest, and a near-disastrous aviation mishap in recent times with engaging characters, thrill and drama. Although there have been films shot in large and small chunks inside aircrafts, this one plays wonderfully on the audience’s psyche showing them exactly what may just go wrong if the weather doesn’t support a flight’s landing and when decisions have to be made running against a clock. Overall, the film keeps you hooked till you disembark from the theatre’s aisles!

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