Famous Malayali businessman Mr. Mithunny Mathews, the inspiration for the role of Akshay Kumar in ‘Airlift’, has passed away at his residence in Kuwait on Saturday, 20th of May 2017. He was 81. The funeral was held later at his native Podippara, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala.Mr. Mathews is survived by his wife Mary Mathew, son James and daughters Annie and Susan. Mathunny Mathews, who was popularly known as ‘Toyota’ Sunny was a pillar of strength for the people of Indian Community in Kuwait for almost 50 years.
Mr. Mathews started his journey as a 20 year old, who came to Kuwait, the erstwhile non independent Emirates country in 1956 for a job. He worked at the Toyota agency owned by Al-Sayer group as a type writer in the beginning. He worked with the company for such a long period that he went on to become the Managing Director for the Al-Sayer Group and thus got to be known as ‘Toyota Sunny’.
In his long time service and existence in the country, Mr. Mathews developed strong friendship and huge social circle. He was one of the founding members and Chairman of Indian School in Kuwait. He also founded Indian Arts’ Circle which bought many Indians together.
During the 1990 war, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the Indian government under PM V.P.Singh has sent Indian flights to evacuate the 1.7 lakh stranded Indians in the country. During that time, Mr. Mathews took care of the whole operation and negotiated with the Iraq government to make sure all the people are evacuated safely. This was the largest human evacuation ever. This inspirational story was made into the film ‘Airlift’ starring Akshay Kumar as RanjitKatiyal who played the role of Mr.Mathews.