Neerja Bhanot Is A Role Model For Young Women; Delighted She's Been Honoured: Sonam Kapoor

Three days after HT reported that the new girls’ hostel on the Panjab University (PU) campus will be named after Neerja Bhanot, actress Sonam Kapoor applauded the initiative.

“I applaud Panjab University and the initiative that they’ve taken,” Kapoor, who played Neerja Bhanot in the National Award-winning Bollywood flick Neerja, said.

“I’m so glad that the film was able to honour Neerja Bhanot’s memory and that her courageous act will continue to be remembered,” she added.

PU vice-chancellor Professor Arun Kumar Grover had recommended naming the new hostel after Neerja Bhanot. Hostel number 10 will be made functional by mid-September. The recommendations of the VC, however, will be tabled in a syndicate meeting on Sunday for approval. Against an average hostel capacity of 400 students, the new hostel, situated at the back of hostel number 9, will accommodate more students. The existing hostels have approximately 190-200 rooms each.

Neerja Bhanot Is A Role Model For Young Women; Delighted She's Been Honoured: Sonam Kapoor

Grover had said, “Neerja Bhanot is a role model for young women as she displayed courage and devotion to duty.”

Neerja was an Indian model and purser for Pan American World Airways based in Mumbai. She lost her life trying to save passengers on Pan Am Flight 73, which was hijacked by terrorists during a stopover in Karachi, Pakistan, on September 5, 1986.

Neerja was born in Chandigarh in 1963 and lived in Mumbai at the time of hijacking. She was awarded India’s highest peacetime gallantry award for bravery, Ashoka Chakra, in 1987.

In 2016, a biographical thriller film based on Neerj’as name — Neerja — was produced by Bling Entertainment Solutions Ltd, and Fox Star Studios India Pvt Ltd was the co-producer, as per the family. The film, directed by Ram Madhvani, won the National Award for Best Hindi Film at the 64th National Awards in April, 2017.

The other girls’ hostels on the campus are also named after the popular female leaders including Sarojni Naidu hall, Kasturba Gandhi Hall, Savitri Bai Phule hall, Bebe Nanki hall, Mata Gujri hall, Laxmi Bai hall, Amrita Pritam hall and Florence Nightingale.

Neerja’s brother, Aneesh Bhanot said, “I did not even know about this. It will be really fantastic if this actually happens knowing that other girls’ hostels are named after very popular poets, social reformers and politicians.”

He added, “Punjab Kala Bhavan has an art gallery dedicated to Neerja and we really appreciate that. If PU names a hostel after Neerja, it will be really great.”