Airlift is a runaway blockbuster and people are looking out for the real Ranjit Katyal and where he is now. Well, no such person exists because the movie was a fictional account based on two real life characters, Sunny Mathews and late Mr. Harbhajan Singh Vedi, who ensured the smooth evacuation of more than 1, 70,000 Indians from Kuwait.
Mr. Mathews was a rich, influential man with good connections and he ensured that he used them to help as many as Indians reach their country, when Kuwait was plundered by Iraq. With Kuwait government officials beating a hasty retreat and even the Indian embassy for Kuwait shutting down, it was left to Mathews who decided that he will help his country in whatever manner, he possible could. He found an ally in Vedi, who supported him in this endeavor.
Sunny’s friend George who saw Airlift, praised it and said that it was a good tribute to his father. He added, “My dad stayed on till the last ship went out. He made sure that he stayed on till every Indian was evacuated. Even when we were sent to Baghdad from Kuwait, he came with us, but then went back to Kuwait to make sure that the rest of the Indians back there were safe. He was away for two months then with no communication. He had left a note with my mother saying that she should open it only if he never comes back.”
Sadly, Sunny Mathew’s selfless service became a distant memory with passing years. Even the people who had returned from Kuwait, went back to the country in two years, when things became normal. The news had Air india taking most of the credit for the operation and Sunny Mathews preferred to be away from the limelight.