One line Review: 'Neerja' is based on a real life incident where a 23 year old air hostess Neerja Bhanot loses her life while saving the lives of the passengers of a high jacked plane.
Positive Points: The movie is an inspiring tale of a young girl, who has shown immense courage at the time of crises. This is a tale that everyone must watch and get inspired from. Biopic is one such genre that has brought in more meaningful cinema in today's time. The actors have done a phenomenal job in maintaining the realistic feel to the film. Both, the first as well as the second half are powerful. The film has not been stretched unnecessarily and, quickly gets to its stride. The emotions are beautifully captured at various moments. The transition from past to present is smooth and comprehensible.
Negative Points: It is hard to criticize such an inspirational film that has managed to leave a strong impact.
Plot: The film begins on a happy note where Neerja (Sonam Kapoor) along with her family are celebrating at a society party. Shabana Azmi plays the role of Neerja's mother. Neerja is a young, lively girl who is a big Rajesh Khanna Fan. She is an air hostess by profession and also does modelling. The movie quickly gets to the point, while Neerja is getting ready to board the early flight from Mumbai to New York with a halt at Karachi, the terrorists gear up for the high jack of the plane. As the plane lands in Karachi, Pakistan the terrorists attack and high jack the plane in which Neerja is the head flight attendant.
In the course of the high jack that lasted for several hours, Neerja presents her brave foot front, and does whatever was possible for her to do during that time to save the passengers. At the time of rescue, the young girl let everyone else salvage from the plane first without fearing for her own life. During the long waiting hours in the plane, Neerja recollects her bitter past that is when we come to know about her broken marriage. At the end, the courageous heart manages to save 359 lives out of 379 passengers but, lost her own in the process.
Direction and other Technical Aspects: Director Ram Madhwani has does a brilliant job when it comes to direction. He has put light on an immensely sensitive and emotional subject and executed it brilliantly. The high jack scenes are captured aptly keeping them as real as possible. The run time of the film is perfect. Screenplay by Saiwyn Quadras and dialogues by Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh are praise-worthy. Editing by Monisha R Baldawa is crisp. Overall the movie is a gripping and an engrossing thriller.
Performances: This is Sonam Kapoor's career best performance. I am glad that the actress stayed true to her character throughout the film. She has definitely worked hard on her acting skills and that shows. Had her performance not been up to the mark, the movie would have crashed and lost its essence as its Neerja's story and she is Neerja! But, Sonam truly is excellent in the film and deserves all the praise. This film will surely render the necessary boost to her career in the industry.
Shabana Azmi's performance manages to give you Goosebumps. She depicts the exact emotions of a mother who unfortunately get to see the bullet ridden dead-body of her young daughter on her 23rd birthday. She exemplifies a mother's sorrow to the fullest, especially in her speech that she gives at the end. The veteran star is just perfect for the role.
Popular Bollywood singer Shekhar Ravjiani makes his debut as an actor through this film. He is seen in a very few frames but, does justice to his role as Neerja's love interest.
All other supporting actors also played their part aptly supporting to the overall film.
Music: Music is minimal yet apt.
Final Verdict: The film 'Neerja' celebrates women empowerment and, narrates the story of a brave young girl. Without any second thoughts, the film is a must watch!
Checkout Neerja Trailer