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Review: ‘Runway 34’: Gripping drama and strong performances make this film soar high

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Series: ‘Runway 34’ (Showing in theatres)

Duration: 148 minutes

Director: Ajay Devgn

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, Abhinay Raj Singh, Boman Irani, Sharik Khan, Aakanksha Singh, Angira Dhar

IANS Rating: ****

Ajay Devgn’s ‘Runway 34’, is inspired by a real-life incident and strongly reminiscent of the 2016 released English film ‘Sully: Miracle on the Hudson’. Yet, it is distinct and proves to be a gripping drama pivoting around Captain Vikrant Khanna’s flight from Dubai to Cochin, one rainy night, and how the skilled and experienced pilot saves 150 lives, with his maturity and foresight, preventing an impending aviation disaster, landing in Trivandrum instead, with limited fuel.

An edge-of-the-seat drama, the film keeps you hooked right from the beginning. The flight scenes displaying the fear and anxiety of the petrified passengers are real and palpable. The external flight shots of the aircraft flying amidst thunder and rain are also beautifully executed and appear real. The final landing of the plane in severe turbulence is frighteningly credible.

While the passengers and media term him a hero, Captain Vikrant Khanna faces a strict inquiry for his decision of landing at Trivandrum instead of Bengaluru and even opting for Runway 34 instead of the recommended Runway 16.

The second half of the film with the entry of Amitabh Bachchan as Narayan Vedant, the Investigating Officer, is equally exciting, although it is more of a courtroom drama with the inquiry committee and the pilots being interrogated.

How Captain Vikrant Khanna manages to hold his own against Narayan Vedant, convincing him of his sharp memory and flying skills through a simulated flight, thereby justifying his actions and decisions, forms the crux of this aviation drama.

Ajay Devgan, as the dashing and accomplished Captain Vikrant Khanna essays his character with his characteristic restraint and minimal expressions. He emotes through his eyes, conveying myriad emotions. An astute pilot, who places his passengers’ safety before everything else, a family man but with a fun side to his personality, Ajay Devgn is every bit that pilot.

Amitabh Bachchan as Narayan Vedant expectedly takes centre stage with his flawless oratorical skills and charisma, and towers over everyone else in the inquiry scenes. As always, he is a treat to watch.

Rakul Preet Singh, as Co-pilot Tania Albuquerque delivers what is expected of her, given the limited scope of her character. The scene where she is frightened owing to the bad weather and thinks it is all over is a wee bit incongruous with the perception one has of a pilot.

Boman Irani as Mr Suri, the owner of the Skyline Aviation company, is credible.

The story is narrated in a linear manner, and is fairly straightforward with no element of intrigue or unexpected twists, although the drama quotient is fairly high.

Some parts of the film appear a tad rushed and unconvincing, especially the inquiry by the DGCA officials and the breath analyser tests.

The background music is effective especially in the scene when Captain Vikrant Khanna leaves the airport after the heroic feat.

Overall, ‘Runway 34’ is an interesting film which is a perfect combination of drama and good performances.

Bollywood

SRK’s Mumbai bungalow Mannat gets a diamond-studded nameplate

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 Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is known as the king of Bollywood, has added more jewels to his crown – quite literally. His bungalow, Mannat is one of the iconic places in Mumbai, and now he has cranked it up a notch by getting a diamond studded nameplate for his residence.

Several fan clubs of the ‘Chak De! India’ star recently shared the pictures of the nameplate on their social media as they swarmed to the King’s castle to take a glimpse of the shimmery nameplate, which surfaced roughly two months after the previous nameplate.

In the pictures, two diamond nameplates could be seen with Mannat written on the left side and Landsend written on the right. Previously, it was a blackboard with Mannat Landsend embossed on it.

Landsend because the sea-facing bungalow is situated in the land’s end part of Bandstand in Bandra.

SRK often greets his fans from his balcony as he did recently on his birthday on November 2. Fans now have all the more reason to put the camera shutter sound in action with the installation of the new nameplate.

On the work front, SRK has three big-ticket releases in the pipeline first of which is ‘Pathaan’ from the YRF spy universe. The film will mark SRK’s return to the silver screen after a hiatus of 4 years. Additionally, he also has Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘Dunki’ in which he will share the screen with Taapsee Pannu and south director Atlee’s ‘Jawan’.

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Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor bring home their baby girl

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Bollywood star couple Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor were seen bringing home their baby girl on Thursday.

The new proud parents reached their home Vastu on Thursday morning. Alia was glowing in an all black outfit while Ranbir was seen sitting in the car cradling their bundle of joy as they travelled from Sir HN Reliance Hospital to their home.

Alia, who delivered her first baby on November 6, had announced the birth of her first child in a joint note by her and Ranbir on Instagram.

It read: “And in the best news of our lives: Our baby is here.. and what a magical girl she is. We are officially bursting with love – blessed and obsessed PARENTS!!!!! love, love, love. Alia and Ranbir.”

The couple, who started dating in 2018 on the sets of ‘Brahmastra Part One: Shiva’, got married earlier this year in April.

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Bollywood

Khan Squared: SRK to appear in Salman Khan’s ‘Tiger 3’ as Pathaan

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 The daredevilry of ‘Pathaan’ is going to spill into ‘Tiger 3’. That Salman Khan will appear in ‘Pathaan’ in his Tiger avatar had been confirmed some time back, but now comes the news that Shah Rukh Khan will show up in ‘Tiger 3’ to enact a thrilling sequence.

‘Pathaan’ as well as the ‘Tiger’ and ‘War’ franchises (‘War’ being the superhit film where Hrithik Roshan plays RAW agent Major Kabir Dhaliwal) are three important pieces of the spy universe unspooled by Yash Raj Films.

“Shah Rukh Khan will shoot for ‘Tiger 3’ immediately after the release of ‘Pathaan’, thus confirming his presence in the Tiger franchise. In Aditya Chopra’s spy universe, the paths of SRK, Salman and Hrithik will constantly cross to build up the grand finale of the spy universe,” a well-placed source reveals.

SRK’s shoot schedule for ‘Tiger 3’ is being planned immediately after January 25, 2023.

The source added: “This will be a massively mounted action sequence where Pathaan and Tiger come together for a very crucial scene. This will also be a huge cinematic moment for audiences to love.”

“The spy universe is turning out to be deliciously thrilling because it brings the biggest superstars together in a riveting, edge of the seat sequences that are important for the plot to move forward. Now, all eyes are on when Hrithik Roshan will enter the spy universe.”

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