“What are these producers thinking when they get a story? In this film there is no hero. All the villains are unknown faces. It’s mostly inside a plane and to make it more boring, the girl dies at the end of it all. There is a useless speech by her dad at the end”. I had to hear this from the theater guy before watching the movie Neerja. I was really perplexed by the time I finished watching the film. The story moved me and the film was really good in my opinion and I kept on thinking why that man was looking for commercial flavors in a movie that was based on a real life incident.
I am sorry if the first paragraph was bit of a spoiler for you. But I am pretty sure those of you who were eagerly waiting for the film will have gone through the wiki page of our title protagonist. It is the story about Neerja Bhanot, an air hostess who kept her cool and managed to save almost 350+ passengers and cabin crew members when the Pan Am flight in which she was the head purser got hijacked. What happened inside that plane and how Neerja did it is what the movie narrating.
Ram Madhvani has tried his best to keep the movie in the realistic zone of storytelling. It would have been boring if they linearly approached the incident. But that’s the good thing about the film. They haven’t gone for that documentary style. The movie gets narrated in that back and forth style where you also get to see the past of Neerja which sort of made her a strong lady. The realistic feel was evident in every frame and it does keep us all engrossed to the film.
The issue with real life stories is that they may not be cinematically dramatic if you look at it as a movie. But some film makers do manage to create that feeling. By smartly infusing the past of Neerja, the writer Saiwyn Quadras creates that spicing up here. We get to see two shades of the same character and Madhvani smartly use the older shade to be the reason for her bravery. The speech by Shabana Azmi at the end is also quite moving as it somewhere teases our general attitude of considering females as the ones who need protection as if they aren’t tough. Madhvani has done a great job in recreating the whole event. The production design was fabulous. The edits were really good and the cinematography did complete justice to the raw style the director followed. The only negative I could sense in the creative department was the slight amount of drama that happens in certain key areas.
I won’t say this is by far the best performance of Sonam Kapoor. But except for certain cheesiness in the beginning portions, I think she has done a good job. Shabana Azmi was damn good as the mother. Not to be ignored is the performance of Yogendra Tiku. Shekhar Ravjiani (Shekhar of Vishal-Shekhar) wasn’t impressive in that emotional scene. The actors who played the roles of the terrorists also deserve appreciation.Neerja is a movie that I feel has done complete justice to the actual event. It won’t have the level of dramatization we have seen in films like Airlift (where they created a hero based on two real persons). But it certainly has a narration that is true to its content.