Movie Review: ‘Neerja’ is an Absolute Winner
Ram Madhvani steers clear of quintessential Bollywood melodrama, which turns out to be Neerja’s biggest strength.
The trailer of Neerja had us biting our nails in anticipation. And no the climax wasn’t the reason for our nervousness. Considering it’s based on the real life story of Neerja Bhanot who died while saving passengers from terrorists on board the hijacked Pan AM flight 73, we knew the film would chart a familiar course.
It was Sonam Kapoor who gave us sleepless nights. Will she, won’t she, and, more importantly, can she do justice to her the in what otherwise seemed like a delectable piece of cinema?
Sonam is Perfect as Neerja
Well, we have been pleasantly surprised. Director Ram Madhvani’s illustrious career as an ad filmmaker comes in handy as Sonam’s acting chops are tantalizingly advertised.
Sonam Kapoor is perfect as Neerja. She melts into her role as a bright-eyed, lively 23-year-old girl, who, when faced with an extraordinary situation, becomes a shining example of the indomitable human spirit and kindness.
It’s easy to be prejudiced against Sonam, and frankly, her “pampered princess voice” doesn’t help her case at all. But as Neerja, she is magic on screen. The growth we see in her character, the way she negotiates her vulnerability, fights her inner fears and insecurities, Sonam endears herself to us.
The film further soars, thanks to the magnificent supporting cast. Be it the hijackers who are so convincing that we have a chill running down our spine as their steely gaze pierces through us. Or Neerja’s doting parents played by Shabana Azmi and Yogendra Tiku.
122 Mins of Riveting Cinema
The way they work the silent moments, how their voice breaks as they try to come to terms with the news of the hijacking, and the desperation with which they cling to hope – it all translates into 122 mins of riveting cinema. Shekhar Ravjiani has a small role as Neerja’s onscreen love, and those tender moments are precious indeed.
Ram Madhvani steers clear of quintessential Bollywood melodrama, which turns out to be Neerja’s biggest strength. For recreating the beauty of the ’80s with a stunning eye for detail, and for bringing out the best in Sonam Kapoor, this film is a must watch. Go for it with family and friends and a big box of tissues. 5 Quints out of 5. An absolute winner!
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