CAST & CREW
Well, real life heroics seem to have found a strong foothold not only in Hollywood but also in Bollywood. If not, how come today’s Indian filmmakers are bent on portraying such real life happenings on screen? Take for example the recently released Airlift that was embraced by the audience. And well, here comes Neerja, which is an apt tribute to the brave Neerja, who saved millions of lives from the clutches of hijackers. Let’s see whether this cinematic version does justice to Neerja’s bravery.
Neerja is set in the Mumbai of the late 80s. Sonam Kapoor, who enacts Neerja Bhanot, is an ardent Rajesh Khanna fan. And she just casually says one of the favorite dialogues of Kaka to a driver which means that life should be big and not small. Doesn’t this trigger enough curiosity for the audience, given the plot?
A gang of terrorists in Karachi are hatching a plan to hijack a plane. They have all the things required to carry out the hijack.
And we are taken to the life of Mumbai-based Neerja, who is an air hostess. It is during the year 1986. After partying, Neerja resorts to her bed, reminding her affectionate mother Shabana Azmi to awaken her in the wee hours of the morning since she has to attend a flight. Little does this sweet girl know what’s in store for her when she takes her responsibility in the Pan Am Flight 73 which has about 380 passengers.
Neerja is a model apart from her job as an air hostess. Her mother (played by Shabana Azmi) even requests her to leave her air hostess job given that Neerja’s tryst with modeling is apparently promising. And there is the father Yogendra Tiku who proves to be the motivating spark of her life.
And coming back to the real story Neerja scores in a place where even the pilots failed; yes, when the pilots run away for their lives, it’s Neerja who understands the seriousness of the situation and handles it in a matured manner. Neerja Bannot shows enough fortitude to rescue her passengers even though she knows that her life is at stake. She is the least bothered about the nationality of the innocent people in the airplane; all she knows is that she can transform her fears into a tale of astounding humanity.
And to know how the film is shaped go to your favorite theaters and get engrossed in this biopic of endearing humanity.
Sonam Kapoor is the real show stopper. And yes, she is indeed a revelation. She has made a commendable attempt, and the heartening factor is that her efforts have born fruits. This is another feature in the cap of Shabana Azmi, who has stunned us with her stellar performance of a mother who lost her loving daughter. Yogendra Tiku has done a neat job.
We live in a world which is predominantly self seeking. And Neerja comes as a potent solace if this is the adjective that can best describe the movie. But again, does such a young girl deserve this fate? We are posed with this daunting question after watching the movie.
Neerja Bhanot was the youngest to be awarded the Ashok Chakra for her exemplary performance. And after seeing the film, the uninitiated will surely understand why she is such an icon.
What’s not there?
The supporting cast including the pilots and the terrorists could have done better.
A 23-year old youngster proves that she has maturity beyond her age, and she has accepted her destiny. Sounds unbelievable? Then watch Neerja to believe it and come home not to ponder over it; sometimes a one-time watch is so heavy on you…
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