Friday, 17 June 2016



A real masterpiece of a movie by Director, Ram Madhvani. Even though I watched it on TV , it was a cathartic experience. Few movies touch me to the core and this was one of them. The subject and the personality on which it was based was a big plus, but it required sensitive handling, and in this, full marks to Ram Madhvani.

The real Neerja displayed exemplary courage and self belief in the face of a dangerous life threatening situation, first in handling the hijackers, to caring for the passengers in the plane, keeping them calm in adversity to finally ensuring that most of the hostages escaped from the plane , putting her own life on the line. Hats off to such a courageous lady and hats off to her parents too.

Coming back to the movie, nowhere does the Director make it a typical melodramatic movie, and sticks to the human portrayal making you a part of the saga. And you see some of the best acting in many years with Sonam and Shabana Azmi living the challenging roles. Especially Sonam, who captures the nuances of a girl next door, going about the job which she loves, at the start of the movie, to a heroic girl concerned only with protecting as many passengers as possible and at the same time, standing up to the dangerous tormentors with courage. Quite a few scenes really stood out. One, when a passenger is shot in front of her eyes, her reaction of first breaking down and then collecting herself to face the hijackers again. Two, taking out a letter from her pocket with trembling hands and the entire gamut of emotions engulfing her as she reads it . I haven't seen such restrained but effective acting from any other actors in recent times, with all due respects to them. There are many more scenes where Sonam excels in this very challenging role, which she made it her own so much that I cannot imagine any other actress in it. I would really  be surprised if she doesn't sweep the awards this year.

And what can one say about the legend, Shabana. When she was thought to be a has been, she has shown how much the Hindi film industry was missing her. She too has lived the role of a mother. Her reactions to the news about the hijack of the plane where her daughter is working, her struggle to keep up a strong exterior to her family and finally the climax speech, where her respect for her daughter is as apparent as her feeling of loss, she was fantastic.
Not for nothing did Neerja get the highest bravery awards from the Indian as well as Pakistani government. Very proud of her.
Yatindra Tawde

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