By Prerna Bhatia
Most of us to proclaim to be critical thinkers, strong-headed, and calm in our interviews and on our résumés, but can we really be composed enough to think rationally when our life is in danger? Probably not. But Neerja Bhanot did. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary heart, she saved the lives of the many people who would probably have died had it not been for her courage, prevented the success of the mission of a group of terrorists, and gave up her life for a bunch of people she hardly knew in the process.
The story starts with Neerja’s (Sonam Kapoor) society party. An air hostess and model by profession, she is more than happy to be Head Purser to Pan Am 73 for the first time. But her world turns upside down when four armed men hijack her plane at Karachi International Airport, and she is left in charge of the flight as the pilots escape after she informs them about the situation. How does she act in the following hours, and what is it that makes her gather the courage to save hundreds of lives?
How many of us would dare to confess what we truly feel about the job of a flight attendant? They serve us and make sure we are comfortable during the journey, but they also put their life at risk to make sure we are safe. Neerja has definitely changed the perception of a flight attendant for the common man.
We all have read/watched real-life stories of terror, which describe what it is to be overcome with fear. But seldom do we actually experience what the people in that situation would’ve felt. However, Neerja delivers well on that front. Sonam’s commendable acting, coupled with the amazing screenplay, gives you chills in many portions, for instance, the moment when the terrorists forcibly enter the plane. The film builds a tension that remains till the end, even though most people might know the story. It reflects Madhvani’s careful planning and precision in delivering an extraordinary biopic that has not failed to do justice to Neerja Bhanot’s bravery in any aspect.
The film is a milestone in Sonam’s career, being a treat for her fans, and leaving everyone who doubted her acting skills speechless (well, almost). She carries it entirely on her shoulders and makes you truly believe “Zindagi Badi Honi Chahiye, Lambi Nahi”.
The supporting cast also gives a splendid performance with Shabana Azmi nailing her role as Neerja’s mother. Watch out for the actors who play the terrorists (especially Khalil), for they do a great job in getting the emotions of the characters across, be it their frustration and anger with the officials, or their confusion when they realize that Neerja has outdone them in more ways than one.
The facts and characters have not been altered much, thus being a tribute to the heroic young girl, taking her story to millions of people. The director encompasses all her emotions in the most stunning manner: happiness, fear, frustration, rationality, and courage. She falls seven times and rises eight; making herself the one person to be associated with Pan Am 73 for the time to come.
The brilliant performances and a strong and well-thought out script make Neerja a movie you cannot miss.
Sonam falters in some places in the beginning of the film, and the part therefore, may be overly dramatic for some, but the film gains momentum with time.
Neerja encompasses every bit from the protagonist’s story to her family’s beautifully, and it is sure to melt the hardest of hearts when you see a mother crying over the body of her daughter, who she had seen off happily a day ago. If you are even a little emotional, you will end up crying for the better part of the film. Go for it if you are in the mood for a good quality Hindi movie (which has become unusual lately).
I give it a well-deserved 4/5.
Watch the trailer here:
Image Credits: Google