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Neerja

Directed by Ram Madhvani

Starring: Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Shekhar Ravjiani, Yogendra Tikku

The attention-grabbing trailers and publicity have generated substantial curiosity for the film. The movie gains credibility because the focus on the tragic story of Neerja Bhanot, a 22-year-old chief flight attendant of the doomed Pan Am Flight 73, whose life had overturned due to a distressing occurrence, courtesy the hijackers from the Abu Nidal Organisation, is intact with the occurrences of the event.

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It rarely happens that a director achieves such a finesse in his first major project but Ram Madhvani, who has been directing award winning commercials for over twenty years, defies all conventions giving us an amazing experience. The movie takes off with a scene in Karachi with terrorists giving final shape to their heinous plans and in parallel Neerja Bhanot is introduced as a delightful, amiable, free spirited girl; a big fan of Rajesh Khanna as she flings out some memorable dialogs from his famous movies befitting the situation which is about to unfold later.

Instead of narrating the tale in a linear fashion, Ram Madhvani uses an altogether different style, working from a script by Saiwyn Quadras — whereby the story unfolds in flashbacks. The tender moments Neerja shares with her family, the upheaval in her life caused by her bad marriage and the final good-bye to her new partner (Shekhar Ravjiani) are done with as much detailing as possible. Ram Madhvani narrates the story with flourish and the biopic he sets out to narrate in the film keeps you on your toes all through.

The talented raconteur along with cinematographer Mitesh Mirchandani makes sure the jerky camera packs the sense of grief and immediacy that transcend the genre, making it a novel experience for the viewer. The undercurrent of tension and the violent crimes are intertwined skillfully with the affectionate moments Neerja shares with her cabin-crew and passengers and the emotional turmoil that the protagonist goes through during the situation of helplessness. The violence sequences, thankfully, are not overdone and balanced neatly in the proceedings.

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Sonam Kapoor gambles with the strong character but doesn’t quite steal a place in the heart. Though she looks confident and can be seen delivering a matured performance in this one. Shabana Azmi as Neerja’s mother was stellar and delivers a remarkable performance. Her eyes strike a fear that resonates deep in your soul even hours after the movie is over. She makes the grief felt.

The film lacks in background score and some other aspects but these minor complaints can be ignored. Climax is unpredictable. The real photos of Neerja at the end of the movie was an absolute treat to watch.

On the whole the best biopic in these recent times along with Airlift.

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2 Responses

  1. Somreeta Mukherjee says:

    Zindagi lambi nahi, badi honi chahiye Babumoshai…….I think she lived upto what she believed in!

  2. Siddhartha says:

    The sky was her limit indeed.

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