‘Neerja’ at the heart of Sonam

Published: February 7, 2016
Sonam was the first choice to play the character of Neerja. PHOTO: FILE

Sonam was the first choice to play the character of Neerja. PHOTO: FILE


Actor Sonam Kapoor said that the makers of her upcoming movie Neerja simply wish to inspire people with the story of the brave Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life in an attempt to save passengers on a hijacked plane.

Neerja Bhanot was awarded the Ashok Chakra for saving several hundred lives as an air hostess on the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986, eventually losing her life in the battle with hijackers.“Neerja Bhanot is an inspiration and she was quite famous 30 years ago. It is our endeavour that she becomes an inspiration again” said Sonam.

The actor elaborated that the sole purpose of visiting colleges and speaking about the achievements of brave people was to inspire others to do great things. “It is unconventional, and we don’t know how it’s going to get translated”, shared Sonam, “but we’re trying to do something different, so that it’s about her as opposed to us just selling the film.”

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Sonam repeatedly expressed her happiness for portraying Neerja, encouraging everyone to take a leaf out of the young hero’s book. “The film is for young people to inspire the future, to say that we can all be heroes. I talk a lot about myself, but now it’s important to talk about Neerja and the values she stood for. A lot of people now understand that. I hope everybody recognises what we’re trying to portray.”

Director Ram Madhvani expressed his satisfaction with Sonam Kapoor performance in his forthcoming film, stating that Kapoor had done complete justice to the role of the young airhostess. “This film was my dream and I keep on saying that the film is blessed. It’s a very tough to make a film, especially this kind of a film,” shared Director Ram Madhvani. The highly anticipated ‘Neerja’, which also stars Shabana Azmi and Shekhar Ravjiani is all set for a worldwide launch on February 19.

When asked if Sonam was his first choice for the movie, Madhvani was quick to answer, “Yes, from day one, I was very clear and I am happy that she said ‘Yes’”

Sonam added that Neeja Bhanot was an ordinary girl who was dedicated to performing her duty, even if it meant laying down her own life for the sake of 359 passengers in the face of mortal peril. “This film is made for the youth, it’s about facing your fears, understanding what we’re all about, discovering who we are. I hope this becomes your anthem in life because we shouldn’t be afraid of anybody and we should always be ourselves. It’s about embracing who we are and doing the right thing,” she said.

Sonam found Neerja’s story so inspiring because the hostess did not bother about herself and took care of other people.

“And that’s why I was inspired to do the film because I hope it inspires everybody to be a better person, and take care of everybody around them.”  

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th,  2016.

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