Neerja - Review

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

A story that you must watch and the film is good too.

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Wogma Review

Finally, we have a story that absorbs us completely. It isn't a surprise then that it is not fiction, not something created by someone through their imagination. In fact, the story is what it is because it is true. It is heartening because such humanity is not 'just in the movies'. Would Neerja, the film have the same impact if the story weren't true? Difficult to say. However, the story would certainly have been forgotten by many if it weren't for the film. And, of course, the story could have been forgettable, if it wasn't told this well.

It has been a long time since I heard applause by audience after the film ended and it has been a long time since I had tears well up and roll away because of a performance. Every time Shabana Azmi is on screen, I sensed a flood of emotion that I haven't felt in a movie in ages. Her voice inflections through the film, not only in one particular scene, touch a chord. Not just her, you empathize with Yogendra Tiku as her husband, Neerja's father every time he is speechless but is required to form words.

And of course, Sonam Kapoor has vowed with keeping it restrained and real. A word here for the actors who play the terrorists, though I feel that even acknowledging the terrrorists' existence is giving them too much. Well, then that is how well the actors have done. Shekhar Ravjiani – even before we watched the film, we knew that we have to see this man in bigger roles on screen, didn't we?

One could complain that the film could have been shorter making it crisper because after all it is almost two hours of being stuck in a plane. However, I would stop myself short while doing that, because it is about hijacked people who were stuck with terrorists in a plane for 16-17 hours. Remember we got breaks in the form of flashbacks. Other than that, sure, there is drama in the form of tight close-ups and use hand-held cameras. But it is not overdone. Maybe the Rajesh Khanna bit is a little over-the-top, here's hoping that Neerja Bhanot was really that big a fan.

Aside from telling a story about the events of PAN AM 73, Neerja has a lovely layer of woman empowerment sewed into the fabric of the film. This is not just about the woman's grit because she is a woman. But also about being wanted as a girl child, about her independent spirit and about her having to stand-up against labels and what was wrong. Not because she is a woman, but because she is human. And that is what is so enabling about the film's subtext. Indeed, you feel like standing up to salute her parents who instilled the values that she lived and died by.

Goodness forbid then, were we to find ourselves in a situation like this, will be remember this film and act accordingly? Even if a handful of us do and fewer stay as brave, we would have made Neerja's short life larger.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Terrorists shooting innocent people.
  • Language: Clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None.
  • Concept: A story based on true life about an air hostess saving passengers' lives from terrorists.
  • General Look and Feel: Intense and grim.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 4
  • Story: 5
  • Lead Actors: 5
  • Character Artists: 5
  • Dialogues: 4
  • Screenplay: 3.5
  • Music Director: 3.5
  • Lyrics: 3

Neerja - Movie Details

Neerja - Trailer

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Comments (7)

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Mankirt:

Looking forward to watch this brilliant movir

Anuj:

A tale well narrated and a story that deserves a watch! Neerja is a powerful tale of human spirit and sacrifice that every movie goes must watch.

hemant:

best

Atul:

I appreciated this movie. Sonam Kapoor kept it real and was fantastic in Neerja. The role suited her quite well. And the movie has some special moments that remain sweet.

Fan:

Biopics and real life events are the current Bollywood fad, what with Talvar, Airlift, Neerja, Dhoni, Azhar, etc.

Whether they be nationalistic subjects that unite people (Airlift, Neerja ) or personality based subjects that divide people (Talvar, Azhar, ...) they all have one thing in common - extreme cinematic licence / liberty to portray the subject as epitome of good quality and to portray the antagonist as the Satan himself. Unfortunately in real life there are no clear black or white but hundreds of shades of grey. And Bollywood directors have to accept this fact and learn to handle this fact cinematically.

Neerja, a good story and film, also suffers from this crystal clear black and white portrayals of character, which are nothing more than some liberties taken by the director. Remove them and you would have had a brilliant diamond.

Performance wise the film is elevated several levels by the two ladies. Sonam Kapoor is the most natural fit for a young bubbly upper middle class girl. Shabana Azmi gives yet another powerful performance.

The execution of the film is quite crispy. Director comes quickly to the main plot. And manages to keep the story on track and thereby keeping the audience involved.

Good film. Could have been better.

PS: I am not sure if Neerja Bhanot was really a Rajesh Khanna superfan or it was also a fictional adaptation of the director. Because for a 1963 born and brought up in Bombay by around the year 1986 the only superstar would have been Amitabh Bachchan; as confirmed by the character Imraan the radio mechanic.

meeta:

@Fan My birth year is 1974 and I am still an Amitabh Bachchan fan :|

Christena ellie:

Currently i not watch this movie but i read about this movie, i hope this movie have a good story.

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