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Fear Gave Her COURAGE!
Feb 19, 2016 10:33 PM 3804 Views





Our country has produced many heroes and if I am not wrong, we are not aware of 90 to 95% of them. For instance, Dashrath Manjhi did the unthinkable but we got to know about this ‘Mountain Man’ only when he was featured in Satyamev Jayate and later through the film Manjhi – The Mountain Man. Kailash Satyarthi’s achievements were unknown until he won the Noble Peace Prize. Likewise, there existed Neerja Bhanot, the young, beautiful and brave girl who showed extraordinary courage in times of crisis and achieved something that not many would have been able to do. It is painful to know that most of us hadn’t even heard her name. But thanks to the film Neerja, her achievements and sacrifice will be remembered for posterity. What also helps is that it is an extremely well-made flick. Needless to say, it should not be missed at any cost!

The story of the movie: September 5, 1986. 22-year-old Neerja Bhanot(Sonam Kapoor), 2 days away from her birthday, boards the Pan Am Flight 73 from Mumbai as a senior flight purser. The flight is to reach New York via Karachi and Frankfurt. At Karachi, 4 terrorists forcibly enter and hijack the flight. How Neerja manages to use her presence of mind and save hundreds of lives forms the crux of the story.

Neerja takes time to really involve viewers. The initial few minutes are a bit rough but once the credits end, the film manages to make a mark. The characters are nicely introduced. Same goes for the feel of the airplane. Within no time, viewers get used to the entire airplane, its seating arrangements et al. The hijack episode doesn’t commence all of a sudden and yet, it does leave one jolted. Also, the manner in which the pilots react is seen to be believed. From here on, the film gets extremely engrossing and gripping. The focus, at times, does move away from the hijack drama to the back story of Neerja but it’s all nicely incorporated. Hence, the flashback portions don’t look forced or unnecessary. Yes, the film does drag a bit in the middle of the second hour which could have been avoided. But the climax is highly explosive and also deeply moving. The film ends on a very emotionally high note that is bound to be loved and applauded.

Neerja belongs to Sonam Kapoor – no two opinions on that. The actress, often ridiculed for her not-so-great-acting-skills, is sure to silence everyone with her powerhouse performance. The manner in which she makes the correct use of her expressions, body language to better the impact is simply marvelous. She makes one forget all her past performances and without a shred, this is her finest performance! Shabana Azmi(Rama Bhanot) plays the role of Neerja’s mother with elan. She has a very crucial role in the film and although we all know that she is a very talented actor, she still surprises by her performance in the movie. Yogendra Tiku(Neerja’s father) gets a bit overshadowed but manages to stand out. Shekhar Ravjiani(Jaideep) looks quite dashing and does a great job in the cameo. Kavi Shastri(Naresh) is too good. The mere tone of his voice communicates a lot. The actors playing terrorists but Jim Sarbh(Khalil) is the best of the lot. He also had the meatier role out of all 4 and he kills it! The actors playing the kid passengers, radio engineer and the old woman contribute very well.

Vishal Khurana’s music is okay but his background score manages to leave a huge mark. Aparna Sud’s production design is award winning. It is simply impossible to believe that the film was shot on a real set and not in a real aeroplane – it is that authentic! Saiwyn Quadras’s story is too good and well-researched. Kudos to him for bringing to light the tale of this unsung hero! His screenplay is effective as well and he surely has come a long way from Mary Kom. Sanyuktha Chawla’s dialogues are simple and sharp. This is especially evident in the climax scene. Ram Madhvani’s direction is totally apt. He packs in a lot in those 120 minutes without getting too overboard in any respect. At the same time, he ensures that the film reaches to a wider audience and hence the narrative is very mainstream and not at all niche. Moreover, it deals with a hijack situation and some scenes are really scary. But it’s not gory or in your face. Hence, it’s a film that can be seen by viewers of all ages. A great director and hope he comes up with his next film soon!

Some of the best scenes:

  1. Rama wakes up Neerja at 1 am

  2. Neerja with Jaideep in the jeep and airport

  3. Terrorists enter the plane

  4. Cops try to communicate with the terrorists

  5. Neerja’s father tells Rama that the plane is hijacked(superb scene)

  6. The intermission point

  7. Neerja collects passports of passengers

  8. Neerja opens the letter

  9. The last 20 minutes

On the whole, Neerja is a terrific thriller that deserves to be seen by one and all. It is very well made – the narrative is mainstream and is bound to appeal to all sections of audiences. Also, it has an emotional connect which also will surely make a mark and takes the film to another level together. Sonam Kapoor surprises with her finest performance ever. At the box office, the film might have had a slow start but is bound to FLY high. Most importantly, thanks to this film, Neerja Bhanot and her bravery will be known world over and this is very important!

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