1. The thrill factor is paramount: Though a political thriller based on a real-life historical incident the predominant concern is to tell a gripping never-told story. That works like a charm.
2. The Akshay factor: The transition from a tycoon steeped in self-interest to a caring concerned Indian who masterminds the evacuation of thousands of stranded Indians in a foreign country, required an actor whose heroic stature was believable and yet huge. I believe the director Raja Krishna Menon thought of Irrfan Khan for the part. But when Akshay showed interest the team rushed to sign him.
3. Salaamat rahe yeh jodi: Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur look super-comfy with one another. They're both Punjabi in real life and vibed off-camera as neighbors from the land of sarason da saagand make ki roti. Nirmat looks uncannily like Akshay's real-life wife Twinkle Khanna.
5. The cinematography sucks us in: Priya Seth who helms the camera provides an understated grandeur to the goings-on. The camera is both an accomplice and spectator in the drama that unfolds.
6. Jana 'Gana' Manna: The songs and music are wisely restricted to the background. K K's patriotic song 'Tu Bhula Jise' when the Indian flag is hoisted in the flag, prompts every Indian out of his or her seat.
7. Weak competition: The film pitched against Airlift is Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 which has turned out to be most uncool. Airlift has shown a jump of nearly 25-30 percent in major centers.
8. Sache heroes: Unlike well-known real-life bio-pics of Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh, this story of brave Indians is untold.
9. Akshay's Ranjit Katyal is in all of us: Dig deep. You will find a Ranjit Katyal waiting to break free from the shackles of self-interest. The film's main character is inspiring.
10. The patriotic card: Republic Day releases with a patriotic pitch tend to connect with the Indian within us. 10 years ago Rakeysh Ompraksh Mehra's Rang De Basanti was a Republic Day release. Last year Akshay Kumar's Baby, which addressed the terror threat in India and in 2014 it, was Salman Khan doing a patriotic Jai Ho on Republic Day.