Review: Ram Madhvani’s Neerja

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One minute into Neerja, and Sonam Kapoor disappears.

We meet, instead, Neerja Bhanot: a poised and cool Rajesh Khanna fangirl, a doted-on daughter, a neighbourhood favourite, a young girl who enjoyed smiling for the cameras. She loved her job, making it up the Pan Am ranks to become a Head Purser before she turned 23. Before she could even turn 23. Ram Madhvani’s film captures Neerja’s effervescence and her professionalism, getting us invested in the character long before we see her take wing and be astonishing, inspirational and incredible in the face of fear.

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Movies about hijacks are usually resolved by force — either mental, by a gifted negotiator, or, as is most often the case, physical, by a superhuman leading man yippee-ki-yaying his way through all odds — but Neerja’s story, one worth celebrating, is a triumph of conviction and of spirit. The situation — that of being…

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