She was fearless...
Ram Madhvani's 'Neerja' is so far the best Hindi film I have seen this year. The reason lies in the narrative the film chose to depict alone.
Neerja Bhanot. A young, beautiful actress-turned-air hostess. Pan Am flight. She is on duty woth her comrades. And suddenly, some hijackers board the plane in Karanchi. She is trapped. But so are tye passengers. Many lives, suddenly turned upside down. Neerja should try to save herself. But first, she will do her duty. She is a 'bahadur bachcha', a brave kid which her mother had given birth to.
Airplane toilet. She is fearful. But then, she remembers- it's not the only time a turbulence came to her life. She has experienced it before. An abusive relationship. She broke free. This is but a small attack! But unfortunately, fate has other plans for her.
And that plan is 'Neerja' the film. The biopic of Neerja Bhanot, the brave air hostess who sacrificed her lives for other passengers of the plane, is a moving, iconic depiction of a narrative, and it is told in effective ways for sure.
And the reason behind this is the performance of Sonam Kapoor, who plays the struggling beauty that was Neerja. She blazes the iconic persona of her character quite exactly. Shekhar Ravijani (of Vishal-Shekhar duo) has made his film debut, and he sure makes the character of Neerja's boyfriend sing. Shabana Azmi as Neerja's mother is effectively deep. I had tears in my eyes as she made a speech about her daughter, when her daughter won the Ashok Chakra (deceased). We soar with pride and weep at the tragedy.
Saiwyn Quadras cooperates masterfully with Madhvani and the starcast, as he pens down a 'bollywoodized' sotry but gives it fine hues. The music moves with a consistent beat. And the cinematography by Mitesh Mirchandani is deep-down the emotional ride. It slowly moves over the aeroplane and gives it the touch of dazzle amidst the darkness, lighting some of the most priceless details such as Neerja's lispticks, the lights beyond the aeroplane's windows, and many other things.
'Neerja' is a subtly made film which produces a zeal and a new wave of emotions. It is not as thrilling as it is supposed to be, but the filmmaker more than succeeds in his mission. I am going with 4 stars out of 5 for 'Neerja'. Please, please watch.
Rare masterpiece in Bollywood
'Neerja'is a biopic on Neerja Bhanot, who saved 359 passengers in the Pan Am Flight 73 from terrorists. Sonam Kapoor gave her career best by portraying a brave lady in the movie. The movie shows the bravery and Courage shown by young lady during tense situation. The movie direction was very good By Ram Madhvani and terrific performance not only by Sonam but also the ones who portrayed the terrorists. Such films are rarely made in Bollywood and it feels good to watch movies based on real life incidents. A great tribute to Neerja Bhanot through this movie. I hope Bollywood keep on making biographic movies like this. A must watch movie for everyone.
"Extraordinary display of courage which will leave us teary-eyed!!!"
Life abounds with stories of unbelievable feats of courage & resilience of ordinary people on the face of crisis. If January saw Bollywood capture the exemplary valour of Ranjit Katyal (modeled after numerous brave individuals) during the Gulf War through "Airlift", then this month is about Neerja Bhanot who is revered for her extraordinary display of courage which saved the passengers of the Pan Am airlines in 1986. She was honoured posthumously with the Ashoka Chakra & was the youngest recipient of it apart from other honours from the US and Pakistan. So will "Neerja" be able to do justice to the exceptional spirit of this great female???
For those who arent quite well versed about the tragic events that unfolded on the fateful night of September 5th, 1986; I will just give a brief overview. Neerja Bhanot (Sonam Kapoor) was the darling of her parents, who instilled confidence & courage in her to pursue her dreams even when life inflicted a harsh blow in the form of a failed marriage. Two days prior to her 23rd birthday, she was on her maiden flight as the senior flight purser of Pan Am 73 from Mumbai to New York via Karachi. Incidentally, four armed terrorists of the Abu Nidal Organization was plotting to hijack the plane from Karachi in exchange for their men in prison. As planned, the terrorists managed to hijack the plane however Neerja's timely alert ensured that the pilots escaped leaving the plane stranded on the tarmac. As the patience of the terrorists wore thin, so did the hopes of the passengers on board but Neerja was determined to protect as many as possible. How this incredible female managed to pull off this daring feat forms the crux of the movie.
The movie has been helmed by Ram Madhvani who has made it appear as authentic as possible rather than make it into a stylish thriller that we are so used to nowadays. As a matter of fact, the jerky cinematography coupled with the apt choice of lighting by Mitesh Mirchandani really helps in providing the impact. With regard to the screenplay, Saiwyn Quadras has done a praise worthy job for most parts especially the portions which shows flashbacks of her past & how she gathers strength from that. However, I felt the parts which focused on the incidents inside the plane lacked detail & seemed more like just reading the wikipedia page.
It's no secret that Sonam Kapoor isn't a talented actress as is evident by most of her performances to date. But she definitely impresses this time around & likely to be in pole position to swoop up awards. From a physical appearance point of view, Sonam was spot on & does her part well also, but I believe Kangana Ranaut could have been a better choice. The best performance in the movie however belonged to Shabana Azmi who just owns the scene every time she came on screen & equally awesome was Yogendra Tiku (as Neerja's father) (the scene where both talk over the phone comforting each other was brilliant). As for the rest, they were average & didnt have much to do.
Verdict: The film will not take the box office by storm but it will have the word of mouth in its favour which will help it in the long run. It's not about how captivated we will be on watching the movie, but rather it's an occasion to be inspired by a young female who sacrificed her life in the line of duty & more importantly, to protect the life of her fellow beings. So do check it out as it will surely move your heart, it sure did for me!!!