Watch Neerja

"Fear Gave Her Courage"
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 7.6  (23,719)

Neerja is a gripping biographical drama film based on the life of Neerja Bhanot, a courageous flight attendant who sacrificed her life while protecting the lives of passengers onboard the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan in 1986. The movie stars Sonam Kapoor in the titular role of Neerja, an air hostess working for Pan Am airlines, and features powerful performances by Shabana Azmi and Yogendra Tikku in supporting roles.

The film opens with Neerja getting ready for her flight from Mumbai to New York via Karachi. She is seen discussing her doubts with her mother about her decision to marry at an early age and leave her job as a modeling assignment awaits her in New York. The audience then gets an insight into Neerja's personal life and her strained relationship with her alcoholic father, which further highlights her strength and courage in the face of adversity.

As the flight takes off, the audience is introduced to the other members of the crew, and the passengers on board. The flight is hijacked by terrorists, and Neerja becomes the only crew member in command, leading the others in a bid to save the passengers' lives. She uses her wit, intelligence, and communication skills to keep the passengers calm while trying to negotiate with the terrorists. The tension builds up as Neerja faces a moral dilemma - whether to save her own life by abandoning the passengers, or stay back and protect them at the risk of her own life.

The film skillfully portrays the emotional turmoil that Neerja goes through, as well as the panic and confusion among the passengers. The tension is palpable as the terrorists become increasingly aggressive in their demands, and the Indian government struggles to negotiate with them. Neerja's calm and confident demeanor in the face of danger, and her ability to think on her feet to devise escape plans for the passengers, leave a lasting impact on the audience.

The character of Neerja is beautifully sketched in the movie, highlighting her bravery, compassion and selflessness. Her decision to hide the passports of some American passengers - a move that puts her own life in even greater danger - shows her unwavering dedication to protecting the passengers, no matter their nationality or creed. The dynamic between Neerja and the terrorist leader, played by Jim Sarbh, is particularly gripping, as Neerja tries to use her charm and intelligence to diffuse the situation.

The film's cast is exceptional, with Sonam Kapoor delivering a career-best performance as Neerja. She is excellent in portraying the character's vulnerability as well as her courage, and her emotional outbursts leave a deep impact on the audience. Shabana Azmi is outstanding as Neerja's mother, and her heart-wrenching performance during the climax is unmissable. Yogendra Tikku, playing Neerja's father, gives a heartbreaking portrayal of a man dealing with alcoholism and guilt.

The film's direction, by Ram Madhvani, is top-notch, and he handles the sensitive subject matter with great maturity and sensitivity. The film successfully captures the tense atmosphere and creates a sense of claustrophobia onboard the flight, which keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. The film's pacing is excellent, thankfully avoiding any moments of melodrama or unnecessary distractions from the main plot.

Overall, Neerja is a triumph of a film, emotional and hard-hitting in equal measure. It is a tribute to Neerja Bhanot's heroism and the sacrifices she made to protect the lives of others. The film expertly balances tense action sequences with emotional arcs, resulting in a film that is both gripping and poignant. Neerja is truly an unforgettable cinematic experience, and a must-watch for anyone seeking a powerful and inspiring story of human courage and sacrifice.

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    7.6  (23,719)