by: Ram Madhvani
by: Atul Kasbekar, Shanti
Sivaram Maini, Bling Unplugged and Fox Star Studios
by: Saiwyn Quadras,
Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh (dialogues)
by: Saiwyn Quadras
Sonam Kapoor, Shabana
Azmi and Shekhar Ravjiani
by: Monisha R Baldawa
company: Fox Star Studios
by: Fox Star Studios
dates: February 19, 2016
The film is based on the life of Neerja Bhanot
who was shot dead by terrorists who hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi on 5
Bhanot was the senior flight purser on the
ill-fated Pan Am Flight 73 flying from Mumbai to the USA, which was hijacked by
four armed men on 5 September 1986 at Karachi airport in Pakistan. The aircraft
was carrying 400 passengers. The terrorist wanted to redirect the plane, Israel
and crash it into a building. As the plane was on the tarmac, the three-member
American cockpit crew of pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer evacuated the
aircraft per their training so that the aircraft could not be forcibly flown.
Bhanot, being the most senior cabin crew member aboard, took charge. After the
terrorists boarded the plane, Neerja alerted the cockpit crew, who escaped
through an overhead hatch in the cockpit.
The hijackers were part of the terrorist Abu
Nidal Organization and were backed by Libya. The terrorists then instructed
Bhanot to collect the passports of all the passengers so that they could
identify the Americans. Bhanot and the other attendants under her charge hid
the passports of the 41 Americans on board; some under a seat and the rest down
a rubbish chute. They wanted to create a pressure on America by identifying the
American on the aircraft. She hid the passports of the passengers on the flight
so that the hijackers could not differentiate between American and Non-American
After 17 hours, the hijackers opened fire and
set off explosives. Bhanot opened the emergency door, flung a chute and
assisted all the passengers to escape. She could have been the first to jump
out when she opened the door but she decided not to and was shot while
shielding three children from a hail of bullets. From a total of 41 American
passengers, only 2 were killed during firing. One of the children, then aged 7,
is now a captain for a major airline and has stated that Neerja Bhanot has been
his inspiration and he owes every day of his life to her. Bhanot was recognized
internationally as "the heroine of the hijack" and is the youngest
recipient of the Ashok Chakra Award, India's most prestigious gallantry award
for bravery during peace time.
This incidence happened just two days before
her twenty-third birthday. Not only had she assured the failure of the
hijacking by preventing the plane from getting off the ground, she also saved
the lives of hostages in those long hours of incarceration.
more about the captain of the Ship, the director:
Ram Madhvani is an Indian film director from
Mumbai best known for directing several award-winning commercials in India.
With over 20 years of experience in the profession Ram Madhvani has worked with
every important advertising agency in the country to become one of India’s most
respected filmmakers. In recognition of his talent and for his contributions to
advertising Ram has been honoured with the Teachers Achievement Award
Ram has also made his mark as a director
outside of advertising. His debut feature film Let’s Talk premiered at the
Locarno Film Festival. It then went on to win the Screen “Best Actor” award and
“Best Debut Director” at the Srinivas Gollapudi National Awards.
In 2007, Aamir Khan asked Ram to direct the
“Bheja kum” song for his film Taare Zameen Par.
In 2012, Ram was again approached by Aamir
Khan to direct the official theme song video for his TV series Satyamev Jayate.
Gut Feel and comments:
“Honesty is the first
chapter in the book of wisdom”. As
I saw the trailer of Neerja and done some research
around the filming process of Neerja I found this quote relevant. As it’s seems to be a honest and sincere effort from the complete creative team starting from the writers
Saiwyn Quadras and Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh, first time producer Atul Kasbekar,
the director Ram Madhvani and complete the cast and supporting crew of this
movie. Both Sonam Kapoor and Shabana Azmi seem brilliant in their respective
It required wisdom to make a biopic and doing justice to a sensitive
story and I am confident that Ram Madhvani did managed to do it. Ram is
renowned advertisement maker and had also directed a Hinglish movie Let’s talk more than a decade ago. In case of Neerja he used all his experience and surely done justice to this
I for see a good movie which has a potential to move heart and
soul and will surely get its due at box office as well and will not go
unnoticed. Fox Star Studios put sincere
effort in marketing the film which surely made it reachable to larger audience
which will benefit the movie eventually.
Going by my gut
feeling I am giving Neerja 3.5 stars out
of 5, one day before the release.
Labels: Atul Kasbekar, Bling Unplugged and Fox Star Studios, preview, preview neerja, review neerja, Saiwyn Quadras, Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh, Shabana Azmi and Shekhar Ravjiani, Shanti Sivaram Maini, Sonam Kapoor