Based on the life of Neerja Bhanot who was shot dead by terrorists who hijacked the Mumbai-New York flight at Karachi on 5 September 1986, Neerja is an Indian film with Sonam Kapoor in the title role. The film is directed by Ram Madhavni.
Based on the life of Neerja Bhanot who was shot dead by terrorists who hijacked the Mumbai-New York flight at Karachi on 5 September 1986, Neerja is an Indian film with Sonam Kapoor in the title role. The film is directed by Ram Madhavni. less
“Neerja could be tough to watch but tougher to miss. So don’t miss it.”
Neerja’s is a story worth telling, the themes in here are universal and relevant unfortunately even today. Be it terrorism and its ugly impact on innocent lives and families or the idea of bringing up a girl child as an equal, as a rounded ethical and morally sound individual , the story touches chords without fail and as a cinematic prospect it has immense potential to appeal to a wide audience base. So far so good. Then the film makers go ahead and cast Sonam Kapoor in the titular role, an actress known more for her Instagram posts and less for her on screen chops. A brave gamble, which for the most part works leaving us with a film that deeply engages and satisfies.
Sonam Kapoor takes time to settle in as Neerja. Opening with her enjoying a small celebration in her middle class apartment colony mileu to cutting into the hijack situation, she takes a little time to shrug off her usual self and bring in some gravitas to the part. Yet, once she gets a hold of it, there is nothing stopping the lady- this is a side to her one hasn’t seen before and she digs her teeth deep into this opportunity giving us a rare honest turn on screen. Accentuating the emotional heft of the movie is Shabana Azmi, who captures the role of Neerja’s mother with subtle nuances that bring out her stoic resilience in the face of such tragedy. The last bit is her meatiest, and she shows what being a veteran really means. The rest of the cast as well is aptly cast and bang on the point, not a notch higher or lower.
Director Ram Madhvani also puts his best foot forward- the screenplay is a tad weak and the pace is slackening here and there, yet he manages to bring in enough urgency and dread into the proceedings and gets us to invest into the plot. Every plot point is given due importance and the drama manages to keep our pulse racing.
What works most in favour of Neerja, something that also makes it stand apart from the other film this year based on a true event Airlift, is that Neerja is fair and square a story of the mother – daughter bond at its core. The relationship between Neerja and her mother form the spine of the story and it is to this that the plot turns to when looking for emotional depth. Thankfully, good actors essaying these parts add to the charm of this lovely film. Only warning, keep them tissues handy when you go watch this one.