May 21, 2016

Neerja | The corny movie review by Navin

Neerja.

By now, this name evokes a strong sense of national pride for an ordinary person who rose to an extraordinary challenge that saved hundreds of 
people. Yes, there are countless other brave people who have done far more courageous acts away from the spotlight but we'll let all that pass and 
focus on Neerja.

Neerja isn't a documentary (like its disclaimer says) but a Bollywoodisque-version of what transpired onboard the Pan Am flight 73 in September 1986. Sonam Kapoor, otherwise known as one of the most over-rated 'actress' of our times, plays the young and effervescent Neerja, a loving daughter, a dutiful wife who endured emotional abuse, kind friend to total strangers, budding model and a passionate air-hostess.

This biopic begins with a lot of promise. As viewers who already know what happens later, there is a special sense of dread and foreboding.
The characters are as real as it gets. The violence, the emotions, the panic and the trauma is real without any of the drama that most other hijack movies feed us. 

Where the movie excels is its storytelling and its ensemble. 
Individually, every actor in the movie were the perfect choice for the character they played. Together, they made this movie come alive. 
Neerja is one of those movies you watch before you read the Wikipedia article. 

I would have wished the movie didn't have as many songs as it had or if the ending wasn't as it was but that's Bollywood for you. Neerja dies a good 20 minutes before the movie ends, but the story of how the Bhanot family copes with the tragedy is poignant. 

Would I recommend it? Definitely. Neerja is Bollywood fare that shows you the cinematic magic that only Indians movie makers can weave. 
Watch it for the stellar performances, even if you aren't into weepies. 
While the plot is thin on the actual hijack but the story of Neerja, the person, resonates with today's middle-class and shows how human we all are, yet in that moment of pain, we are capable of great courage and selflessness. 
'Life isn't about how long you live, but about how wonderfully you live it'. The real-life Neerja may not have said it, but the reel life Neerja surely embodied it. 

My rating: 9

What does the rating mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience
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