Neerja Film Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist


The Premise
Neerja is a portrayal on the life of the courageous Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life while protecting the lives of 359 passengers on the Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. The flight was hijacked by a terrorist organization.

The Review
Okay so first up this is a Bollywood film. I don’t mean one of those musical dance numbers yet there is still a general overly emotional style to the editing and music score. That being said, this is an amazing story of courage under extreme circumstances. I cannot imagine truly what it would have felt like to be caught up in the middle of a plane hijacking. Add to that the knowledge that the fate of so many innocent lives are held delicately in your hand.

I think the film makers here have done a wonderful job of bringing this story to life and creating characters that you care for, hope for and then on the other side there are characters that have such an evilness that you can’t help but hope for their demise.

Considering that the bulk of this movie is set inside a plane, the director does a great job of making it interesting and compelling. Unlike fictional stories, the action in this film is realistic. There is no action hero, no one who sneaks up on the bad guys and kills them all. This is a true story of people trying to survive an event rather than conquer it. This is one of the elements that makes this story hauntingly compelling.

The Verdict
Low budget and yet very compelling. For sure this is a cinematic style that is a little different to that of the average Hollywood film and yet it holds your attention and brings to life an amazing piece of history.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 19th May 2016
Rating: R13 – Contains violence & content that may disturb
Duration: 121 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Shekhar Ravjiani
Director: Ram Madhvani (Let’s Talk)

The Extras
When Neerja Bhanot's real mother Rama met Sonam kapoor, the first thing she said to her was "My Daughter was Prettier."

Neeraja Banhot's mother Rama Bhanot appears on screen with a recorded message before the film starts she passed away in December 2015 hence the film is dedicated to her.

Neerja Bhanot died on 5th September 1986 which is just 2 days before her 23rd birthday (7th September).

Producers original choice for the title role was actress Kangana Ranaut . They wanted bigger stars Katrina Kaif for this biopic, but director settled for Sonam Kapoor.

Nupoor Abrol, one of the flight attendants on the ill-fated flight, took to Facebook and accused the makers of allegedly giving undue importance to Neerja's character. According to her, Neerja wasn't the only hero, three others- Astrid, Sherene, Sunshine and Massey- were the actual heroes of the incident.

The film makers were thanked by Neeraja's brothers Aneesh and Akhil Banot.

Shekar Ravijani of Music Director Duo Vishal and Shekar acted in a film after 11 years first being Home Delivery 2005.

Shekar Ravijani was the last actor to be cast in the film.

The film is based on hijacked PanAm flight 73 on September 5th 1986.

Sonam Kapoor was born in 1985 , while this incident happened a year later in 1986 when She was only 1 year old.

Both Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan praised the film a lot on social media after seeing the film together at a special screening.

Film was made on budget of 12 Crore in 4 days the film went to make 22 Crores.

Sonam kapoor was the first choice for the movie.

Biopic film was banned in Pakistan without being submitted to the censor boards.


The aircraft that was hijacked was a 747-100, named "Clipper Empress Of The Seas" registration number N656PA, after the hijacking it was repaired and returned to service under the new name "Clipper New Horizons".