Aat the beginning, Runway 34 appears as a partial remake of Denzel Washington’s award-winning film Flight (2012), which was based on a veteran pilot preventing his commercial flight from crashing but was investigated for possibly consuming alcohol and drugs.
“Inspired by real events” says some Fargo-esque heavy lifting in this directorial and starring effort from Ajay Devgn, as we are introduced to his character, ace pilot Vikrant Khanna. Khanna has an eidetic memory with over 16,000 flight hours under his belt, but has been flying for six consecutive days and wants to go home.
So, the night before his future Dubai-Kochi flight, he gets the upper hand by joining his friend in a long night of clubbing and drinking, planning what’s to come on the flight as sleep-deprived Khanna makes risky decisions in adverse weather conditions.
The flight itself sometimes lives up to the thrills of the survivalist Runway 34 promises but Devgn’s script and direction are its worst enemy, as horrible attempts at comedy, with a cameo appearance from Youtuber CarryMinati, get in the way. As a result, the big miracle’s landing moment has long been belittled since any attempt to invest you in the fates of the characters falls flat.
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The central problem with Runway 34 is its lack of consistency, as it wastes its 148-minute runtime by overloading the narrative. The flight sequence is made up of corny investigative drama directed by Amitabh Bachchan and an underdeveloped subplot, featuring Boman Irani and Angira Dhar, about the airline’s financial situation.
Of all these big names, however, the film’s only decent performance comes from Rakul Preet Singh, who plays Khanna’s co-pilot Tanya Albuquerque.
Once you get past the tired jokes about the syllables of his last name and the ties to the American city, you see a realistic and relatable depiction of a competent but inexperienced pilot trying his best to deal with a person. arrogant elderly but suffers a panic attack when the situation begins to look fatal.
Albuquerque’s character arc is ultimately a refreshing break from Bachchan constantly reminding us of his bilingual thesaurus prowess before an Air Accidents Investigation Board (AAIB) jury, and Irani’s lazily written plans. and Dhar to kill the investigation and save the company from Bachchan’s investigative questions. .
As uncreative as it soundstrack 34 might have worked better as a direct remake of Flight. But then Devgn’s character should really and honestly address his deep personal flaws instead of just indulging in heroic fake talk about caring too much about his career and the safety of his passengers. But we can’t risk such nuanced representations, can we? As unconvincingly as Devgn’s arguments when promoting Hindi as the national language, Runway 34 has time to add supposedly miraculous twists in the film’s third act.
With a more talented director and writing team, we could have had an interesting introspective look at homesickness, stress, or systemic failures in the aviation space. Instead, what we get is yet another average-at-best mainstream movie that justifies its protagonist’s transgressions with messages like “The country doesn’t deserve to lose its greatest talent.”
The next “true story” that Devgn will dramatize this summer is Maidaan, a biopic about coach Syed Abdul Rahim who presided over the golden age of Indian football. From Amit Sharma of Badhaai Ho fame is behind the camera there, one can only hope he and Devgn stick to the landing.