Top 100 Bollywood Movies Of All Time: No.6 - "Neerja", The Real Heart-Touching Story Behind Sonam Kapoor's Best Film

Maanyata Thu |Jul 07, 2019

Directed by Ram Madhvani, Neerja is considered as one of the best films in Sonam Kapoor's career, which earned her the National Award for Best Actress. Here is the heart-touching story behind it!

Neerja Bhanot was a brave flight attendant, who sacrificed her own life to save 359 passengers on the hijacked Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. Her heart-touching story has inspired many young India and was brought to the big screens in 2016, which was emotionally portrayed by Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor.

The Real Heart Touching Story Behind Sonam Kapoor
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It all started on the early morning of 5th September 1986 when the Pan Am Flight 73 from Mumbai to Frankfurt landed at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi for an hour-long stopover.

Unfortunately, the flight was hijacked by four heavily-armed terrorists from the Abu Nidal Organization, who suddenly entered the plan while firing shots in the air in order to frighten the passengers.

The Real Heart Touching Story Behind Sonam Kapoor
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As the senior flight crew on board, Neerja Bhanot was left in charge with the lives of all passengers. Shortly after the terrorists got into the plane, Neerja managed to send a “hijack code” to the cockpit crew and helped three members of them escape through the emergency hatch, leaving the plane grounded without pilots.

Neerja Bhanot and other crew members tried their best to take good care of the passengers as well as calming them down. When one of the terrorists asked her to collect all the passengers’ passports, Neerja quickly realized that the main targets of them were Americans.

Therefore, she came up with an idea of hiding all the passengers’ passports so that the terrorists could not identify their nationalities. Thanks to her efforts, only 2 Americans were killed among 41 on the plane.

The Real Heart Touching Story Behind Sonam Kapoor
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Also, Neerja opened the emergency door to helped some passengers out. She heroically died while trying to protect three kids from the bullet fire when she was just 23 years old.

During a 17-hour ordeal, Neerja had a lot of opportunities to escape from the plane but she chose to stay with her passengers and served them until her last breath. Her courage, intelligence, and compassion saved the lives of 359 passengers among 380.

The Real Heart Touching Story Behind Sonam Kapoor
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To pay tribute to Neerja Bhanot’s extraordinary sacrifice, India awarded her Ashoka Chakra Award for bravery in the face of the enemy during peacetime and the words from her citation already say it all, “Her loyalties to the passengers of the aircraft in distress will forever be a lasting tribute to the finest qualities of the human spirit”.

After 29 years of the incident, director Ram Madhvani decided to bring alive the incredible story of Neerja Bhanot to the big screens. The film starred Sonam Kapoor in the titular role and earned the actress her first National Award for Best Actress.


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