written by Souranath Banerjee
A biopic that speaks of bravery, of courage, of Neerja Bhanot!
My Ratings: 4.1/5.
‘Let me do my duty as you are doing yours’ – a line told by a purser (air hostess) of Pan Am Flight 73 to a group of armed terrorists who had highjacked the airline at the time, while she wanted to provide water to all the terrified passengers!
How many people have the nerve to stay calm in front of some extremist gunmen and have the audacity to ask to let her serve the people and eventually save 359 lives by sacrificing her own?
Well, Neerja Bhanot had it in her and that’s why though she is no more among us but her legacy still inspires millions across the world.
22 year old Neerja was just like any another girl of her age, originally from Chandigarh but settled in Mumbai with her two caring brothers, a motivating father and a typical over protective mother – a perfectly bonded Indian family. By profession she was an air-hostess who loved her job, and also a part time model. She was young, she was vibrant, she was a Rajesh Khanna fan; she was enjoying her life, she was in love.
And unfortunately on 5 September 1986 she was in that fateful Pan Am flight boarded to fly USA from India via Karachi where it was hijacked by some terrorists who were backed by Abu Nidal Organization (Libya).
Directed by Ram Madhvani, the biopic Neerja, highlights the particular events of that tragic day, how a young girl almost singlehandedly managed to stop the flight from taking off which spoiled the highjaker’s plans and eventually saved many lives by displaying exceptional valor and heroism.
Interestingly at the very beginning of the film, there is a dialogue reference from the film Anand (1971), a past Bollywood classic where the jovial, spirited protagonist dies in the end. This is probably an indirect hint to the audience, a message that foretells the fate of the bubbly and cheerful leading lady Neerja herself.
Sonam Kapoor brilliantly portraying the role of Neerja Bhanot, her performance being to the point and natural, I guess she has finally proved all her critics wrong about her acting capabilities.
Also supported by great performances of Shabana Azmi (as Neerja’s mother Rama Bhanot) and Yogendra Tikku (as Neerja’s father Harish Bhanot). Even the terrorists and the crowd in the flight, the allover level of performance was spot on and most essentially believable.
The cinematography by Mitesh Mirchandani needs a special mention because it gives the film the much needed realistic feel.
Neerja Bhanot (1963 – 1986) as we all know did sacrifice her life while shielding three children from the bullets of the assassins.
The film Neerja is undoubtedly well made and does justice to one of the youngest brave-heart of India, but more essentially it helps Neerja’s valiant story reach more people than ever.
A salute to the youngest recipient of the Ashoka Chakra Award.