Shabana Azmi and Sonam Kapoor are Playing Strong Woman Characters in Neerja
Neerja is the upcoming biopic Bollywood film that is scheduled to release on 19th of February, 2016. The story of the film is based on the true story of Neerja Bhanot who lost her life while saving the life of several passengers in the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi. She was only 23 at that time. With this, she became the youngest ever recipient of the Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award.
Sonam Kapoor is playing the role of Neerja in the film and Shabana Azmi will be playing the role of Neerja’s mother Rama Bhanot in the film.
This is photographer Atul Kasbekar’s first film as a producer. He said that many people told him that Shabana Azmi won’t do his film ever. He said, “Shabanaji agreed to do the film within a day. It was my idea to cast Shabanaji for the role, but others were not convinced as they thought she would not be ready to do the film. She is one of the finest actresses and I am just a novice in film production. Shabanaji is close to Rama Bhanot. When she came to know that I have bought the rights of the story from the family, she agreed to do it”
He added, “Despite the low budget, she did the film. She is a true artiste and has an eagerness to do good roles. I feel these kinds of honest and sincere roles are rarely offered to actors these days.”
Atul Kasbekar wanted Sonam Kapoor to do the role of Neerja. He said, “After I read the script of Neerja, we realised that Sonam’s features match a lot with Neerja Bhanot. Neerja was tall and did modeling, and so did Sonam. So, I told her that I want to produce a film and she was surprised. I gave her the script to read and she was impressed with the narration. As I asked her to do the role, she said, ‘Have you gone mad’.”
He added, “Nevertheless, Sonam agreed to do the character. After, Sonam got to know that Ram Madhvani would direct the movie, she realized that it would be a difficult role to portray. I am really thankful to Sonam for keeping faith in me as a first-time producer.”
The film has been directed by Ram Madhvani and produced by Atul Kasbekar under the banner of Fox Star Studios. The film will be released at the box office on February 19, 2016. The film also features Shekhar Ravjiani and Yogendra Tiku in important roles.