Verdict: A wonderful film about a hero.
In a scene in Neerja, a terrorist points a gun at Sonam Kapoor while yelling “Hero? Hero?”. This happens when they get to know that the air hostess hid the passports of American passengers, and was also aware of the presence of a radio engineer on the flight. This scene sums up the film.
Neerja Bhanot (played by Sonam Kapoor) gave everything she could to save the lives of the passengers on board. And the film portrays her laudable efforts well. When terrorists barge into the Pan Am Flight 73 while it is stationed at Karachi airport, everyone is caught unaware, sending them expectedly into a frenzy and chaos. This is when Neerja keeps her composure, and her bravery helps most of the passengers get out alive.
Going back in time, the film shows her living happily with her parents Harish (Yogendra Tikku) and Rama (Shabana Azmi), and her two brothers. Neerja also has a boyfriend Jaideep (Shekhar Ravijani), who is keen on marrying her, although she is reluctant due to her disastrous first marriage.
What works for the film is the way director Ram Madhvani has directed it. The narrative goes back and forth, talking about the hijack, Neerja's broken marriage, and her family, who is frantically praying for her safety. The screenplay is gripping and a few scenes will bring you to the edge of your seat.
Sonam Kapoor, who is generally criticized for her acting skills, is a revelation in this film. The actress gets majority of the screen time and successfully carries the film on her shoulders. She goes through a series of emotions, when she contemplates giving up, but the next minute she’s ready to put up a fight. The other star of Neerja is Shabana Azmi. The actor is fab as always and gets to show off her acting prowess in a monologue, towards the end of the film. A special shout out to the actor who played the role of terrorist Khalil. He's menacing, to say the least, and we hope to see more of him.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Neerja has a lot going for it. The brilliant direction and the superb performances are its strongest points. This weekend, make it a point to catch this incredible film. Also, if you haven't read up on Neerja Bhanot yet, don't do so now, and let this film take you by surprise.