Movie Review: ‘Neerja’ by Neha Ravindran

  
Movie: Neerja
Director: Ram Madhwani

Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Yogendra Tiku, Vishal Shekhar

Genre: Biopic

Bravery is a virtue that cannot be taught. It is a principled determination to never tolerate injustice and resist perpetrators. Neerja is a movie about a 23 year old airline professional who put her life in danger to resist an attack on humanity and stood true to her beliefs till her last breath.

Pan Am flight 73 to USA via Karachi is hijacked by four Libyan terrorist on 5th September 1986. The head purser on the flight Neerja Bhanot along with all the flight attendants play a very crucial role in helping the pilots escape and saving the lives of more than 300 passengers and crew members.

When I first heard that Sonam Kapoor was being cast to play the role of Neerja, I had my reservations. But her controlled, poised portrayal of the character has convinced me that Sonam Kapoor has grown as an actress. Though attimes, I sensed her slipping into her trademark facial expressions, she recaptures the moment in time. It is evident that she has put her heart and soul into stepping into the shoes of Neerja Bhanot. Shabana Azmi essays the role of Neerja’s mother with an intensity that makes you want to belive that she is Neerja’s mother. Sonam and Shabana share a remarkable on screen chemistry and I hope we will get to see them together more often.

There are some stories which need to be told to the world. Neerja Bhanot’s extraordinary bravery is certainly one such tale. Ram Madhwani has made a sincere effort in recreating the horrors of the hijack. The set for the movie which has primarily been shot inside an airraft look-like, built especially for the movie, puts together a rather realistic feel about the movie. The storyline by Saiwyn Quadras is a result of detailed interviews with the family members, colleagues and friends of Neerja. The background score matched the tempo of every scene, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats. Songs penned by Prasoon Joshi and composed by Vishal Khurana complemented the mood of the movie without really stealing away the focus of the audience.

Every other Bollywood movie is usually about fictional characters blowing up cars and beating goons into a pulp. Neerja on the other hand is breathing reality that took place nearly 30 years ago, a story of a woman who viewed humanity as more precious than her own dear life. Go watch this movie, for real-woman power!

Verdict: ****

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