This was not easy. I have gone through a lot of pain to be able to write this. I spent Rs. 300 on the ticket and waited for 2 hours in the CCD (yes, not Costa or even Barista) to watch this film. I am not adding the price of Black Coffee (usual, without sugar, double shot) that I had to order there. Oh! I forgot to add the parking charge too. So, let’s not waste our time and come to the point. After watching these types of films, by these types I mean “which have their heart in the right place” types (though I don’t even understand the meaning of that phrase), I wonder whether a film should be weighed or analyzed based on its artistic or even entertaining values or on the noble subject and good intentions of the filmmakers. I am not sure. Feel free to answer.
The usual flow of this article should be 1st paragraph story, 2nd and 3rd paragraphs good things about the film, 4th paragraph, a very small one, highlighting some loopholes or shortcomings that do not at all matter to the overall goodness of this film and finally a closing line about hope in general. Let’s just not do that because no one has paid me to do that. Not yet.
The film starts with serving a welcome drink that’s too sugary. Neerja, the only girl in the family is loved too much by the members of the family that includes mother (Shabana Azmi), father (Yogendra Tikku) and two elder brothers (forget about their names I don’t even remember their faces).They call her laado, lovingly. Telling you this is important because this whole laado thing in the first 15 or 20 minutes feels too sugary and that too artificial that I was not able to tolerate it. It was like a high dose of aspartame. Shabana Azmi’s overacting was irritating. The whole environment was build up in a manner that it seemed everyone knew it would be her last flight and they will not see her again. The jerky camera movements were making things worse. Kingdom of foolishness was prospering. My high investment was the only motivating factor that kept me on my seat.
“Ask and you shall receive” -This happened to me. Very quickly, without wasting much time on that lado thing suddenly something happened, ok. You know it already so I will tell you, the plane was hijacked by the Palestinian terrorists at the Karachi airport, and everything changes (I am talking in relative terms).The good, old, reliable Shabana Azmi was back in her skin. Sonam Kapoor’s awkward dialogue delivery became her strength. The jerky camera moves enhanced the overall experience. Everything about the film changed into good with the coming of the terrorists in the frame. The director, Ram Madhvani, and the writer, Saiwyn Quadras ( a foreign connection, that’s why good writing) build up the character of Neerja with random flashbacks. It was a masterstroke in my opinion because it is not shown that she became brave in a single day or she was born like that (the usual mistakes in these circumstances). Her character was built up properly in detail and very cleverly. I say cleverly because using random flashbacks is a tricky method and can easily go wrong. They have chosen perfect flashbacks to answer why she is like that. Everyone including the terrorists and Yogendra Tikku acts well in this part of the movie. Remember it’s a real character and Sonam Kapoor is real here.
So, this may not be great but certainly it is good. Depending upon the threshold, some of you might get emotional as the film comes to an end. I know it doesn’t matter what I suggest, you would watch it anyway because on the weekends you have nothing to do. But perhaps now I could say “the film has its heart in the right place”.