Direction: Ram Madhvani
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Shekhar Ravjiani
Music: Vishal Khurana
Cinematographer: Mitesh Mirchandani
Editor: Monisha R Baldawa
Genre: Drama, Thriller
What is it about: This is a biographical drama based on the tragic hijack of Pan Am flight 73 in 1986, where Neerja Bhanot rose as a hero of humanity saving numerous lives. The film is directed by Ram Madhvani with Sonam Kapoor playing the titular role.
Why it’s disappointing: This section definitely stays put, watch it you’ll realize why.
What to watch out for: There are very few films, which after watching you would like to write about it with not much delay. And one among this year’s release is “Neerja”. The film directed by Ram Madhvani pictures a horrific picture of the incident and the heroic work of Neerja Bhanot.
It’s heart-breaking to any parent when their loved ones return home in a coffin. There are no words nor a feeling, which you can express the pain they’ll go through. Neerja was a symbol of bravery and sacrifice which reminds you that humanity comes first before any racism or nationality. If this notion is understood there will be no wars or terrorism.
Making a film based on real life incidents and invoking a feeling which the people went through that time is a tough task. But director Ram Madhavani did an excellent job. He derived few scenes with great caution and put forward a convincing film. For instance the scene where Neerja locks herself in the flights restroom with the terrorist banging the door, that scene’s analogy with the scene where Sonam locked in her apartment’s rest room with her ex-husband banging the door clearly explains that domestic abuse is nothing different than terrorism. And the initial part where Sonam rejoicing the family get together with a parallel narration of terrorists getting ready was a great touch by the director.
Everyone had one question hearing the name of Sonam Kapoor playing the role of “Neerja”, will she be able to pull it off. She has many similarities with looks of Neerja and Sonam proved that she not only looked like her but also played her to the detail with great dedication. She brought the exact emotion required for every scene. She did an outstanding job as the Neerja. She painted a picture which reached millions today who were kids back when the incident happened. Sonam was the perfect choice for this attire and she wore it with great pride.
Shabana Azmi, what else could be great when you make a yesteryear actress play the role of Neerja’s mother. She did a great job and played the role of a protective mother very well.
So did Yogendra Tiku, who did a fantastic job playing the dad of Neerja in the film. He brought the pain in the exact manner a father would be in, when he hears the news of his beloved’s demise. The scene where he re-assures Shabana Azmi when he himself needs that was a tear jerking one.
The central terrorist characters played by Abrar Zahoor as Zayd Safarini and Jim Sarbh as Khalil were great. Especially the Khalil character who had a great attitude and makes you hate him to core.
The film had a great camera work by Mitesh Mirchandani, who gave a realistic feel to the movie with his dedication towards detailing. And that was cut with great precision by Monisha R Baldawa. The score was subtle and matched the film at right places, Vishal Khurana did a good job.
Verdict: Ram Madhvani did an excellent job in infusing cinematic drama with realistic events. Which made the audience relate to the film as it was intended to, that is why Neerja invoked the right feeling, where “Airlift” failed to. Carry a set of tissues to wipe your tears as this one might make you shed one or two. After a while a movie which was applauded at the end with a standing ovation.