MUMBAI — Aamir Khan visited Sonam Kapoor on the sets of “Neerja,” a Ram-Madhvani-directed biopic on the Ashok-Chakra-award-winning flight attendant, Neerja Bhanot. Kapoor, who plays the title character, was in for a big surprise when Khan dropped by.
Director Ram Madhvani stated, “We had a featured cast of over 220, who were the passengers on the plane. These were people who were cast after thousands of tests by our casting director, Kanika Berry, and her team. To me, each and every one of them is an important actor. Years of advertising work has taught me that they are not just background cast. They are as important as the lead cast. They not only had to act in a believable way, but they had to, as human beings, understand the responsibility of what they were doing. Like, what did the real passengers feel? How did they go through the 16-hour ordeal of being hijacked? As a director, I knew it was critical for the featured cast to be motivated to give the film everything they had emotionally.”
The director added, “We began by doing workshops headed by my associate director, Vinod Rawat. On our first day of shooting, we were blessed by the presence of Bhanot’s mother and brothers, who came to light a ‘diya’ in Bhanot’s memory. Bhanot’s mother inspired all of us with her courage and spirit. I knew that getting Aamir Khan, Boman Irani, Vidya Balan, Raju Hirani and Anil Kapoor to speak to the cast would help instill the dedication and full effort that this film requires. I am forever in their debt for so readily giving up their time and energy to support us. I am also very touched that Aamir Khan did the muhurat shot for our film too.”
Presented by Fox Star Studios, “Neerja” is produced by Atul Kasbekar’s Bling Unplugged.