Sonam Kapoor starrer 'Neerja' banned in Pakistan
For showing Pakistan in a bad light, Bollywood movie 'Neerja' has been banned in the country. Head of Pakistan's CBFC, Mobasher Hasan, said that the Information and Commerce ministry decided not to import the film. The I&C Ministry of Pakistan revoked the certificate to import the film and asked media regulators to ensure that Neerja is not shown on cable channels throughout Pakistan.
Who was Neerja Bhanot?
Neerja Bhanot was the daughter of Rama Bhanot and Harish Bhanot, a Mumbai based Hindustan Times journalist. She was a flight purser for Pan American World Airways. Prior to her Pan American career, Neerja was a popular model and a well-known face in Mumbai. She had starred in many advertisements for brands like Binaca, Forhans and Godrej.
Neerja Bhanot's heroic story
On 5 Sep morning, four terrorists dressed as airport security-guards hijacked the Mumbai-New York Pan American Flight-73 at Karachi. As a senior flight-purser, Neerja managed to warn the cockpit crew to escape and the fate of 400 passengers and crewmembers was in her hands. She singlehandedly saved the lives of many before the hijackers killed her while she was protecting some American children.
Youngest recipient of Ashok Chakra
Neerja Bhanot was only 2 days away from her 23rd birthday when she died. She was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra in 1987, India's highest civilian award for bravery, of which she is the youngest recipient.
Filmmakers had Sonam in mind while writing script
Sonam Kapoor was the first choice of first-time director Ram Madhvani, to play Neerja in the upcoming biopic on Neerja Bhanot. According to him, Neerja had certain qualities like being family-minded that even Sonam possessed. The movie aims at capturing the extraordinary life of Neerja and what she went through during those 17 hours on the plane, which she faced with bravery and courage.
A trust set up in Neerja's memory
In memory of her sacrifice, Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust gives out two awards every year: one to an Indian woman who overcomes social injustice and another to an airline crewmember who acts beyond the call of duty in a crisis.
Not a single penny charged for rights
Filmmakers approached Neerja's family with the request of making a film on her life; the only request her family had in turn was to keep Neerja's honor intact throughout the movie. They charged nothing for the rights to the story for the movie. Rama Bhanot, who passed away recently, said that she felt her daughter walked into the house when Sonam walked in.