Director Ram Madhvani brings us a movie adaptation of the events that took place within PanAm Flight 73 at a time when Bollywood is still enjoying the success of yet another real life thriller, Airlift. Let’s see what Neerja is all about.
Sonam Kapoor plays the role of the titular Neerja Bhanot, a young airhostess whose idyllic life in the 80s is rudely interrupted by the hijacking of PanAm Flight 73 in Karachi. Right off the bat, Neerja is the only one who manages to keep her wits about her and in the process ends up saving many lives. This is a tale we have all heard before but the movie does a brilliant job of taking us through the ordeal within the flight.
Director Ram Madhvani takes us on a nail-biting journey through the film as we come face to face with Neerja’s terror. You will actually feel the horror within the flight and experience Neerja’s courage in the face of imminent danger, a fact that stands testament to Ram’s skill as a director. Events have not been overly-dramatized and neither is there any need for it. The reality is stranger than any fiction the writers could have come up with making for an effective realistic thriller.
Sonam Kapoor however proves to be the weakest link of the movie. She tries very hard to perform but you cannot help but feel that another actress in her place would have probably done a much better job. Shabana Azmi is brilliant as ever while the actors playing the terrorists in the movie really shine.
Overall, Neerja is a winner in all aspects, be it story, direction or cinematography. Barring Sonam’s weak effort, this is one film that gets it right. We shall go with three stars for Neerja.