Film “Neerja” director Ram Madhvani said that air-hostess Neerja Bhanot’s family refused to give rights to make a film on her to numerous people, but had trust in them.
“(Producer) Atul Kasbekar initially spoke with the family. Before us, different people have asked them the rights to make a film on Neerja. For some strange reason, they have said no to them, they said yes to us. That I think you should ask the family why they showed trust in us, or why they had faith in us,” said Madhvani.
Neerja Bhanot, a 23-year-old flight attendant, was the youngest recipient of the Ashok Chakra award for her heroic act of saving 359 lives on the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 aircraft in 1986 – but at the cost of her life.
Though Madhvani has made a film “Let’s Talk”, he is primarily known for directing numerous acclaimed advertisements and even directing a song in actor Aamir Khan’s “Taare Zameen Par” as well as the theme song of his television show “Satyamev Jayate”. Popular photographer Kasbekar, who makes his debut as a producer with the film, was the brain behind getting Madhvani onto the project.
“My friend Atul Kasbekar approached me first, he asked me if I knew Neerja. Actually I’m one of the few people who didn’t know Neerja but knew about her. I knew the incidents on the flight and was aware that she had received the Ashok Chakra. Atul said that he had this concept and asked if I would make a film on it.. I immediately said yes because this is a story that needs to be told to everyone.”
“The writer of ‘Mary Kom’ Saiwyn Quadras had approached Atul first – which I came to know later – then Atul approached me. We worked with Saiwyn for 2 years, Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh has written the dialogues. Sonam Kapoor was involved earlier on a conceptual basis, still there is always a fear when the final script is ready with dialogues, the actress might like it or not like it. So we were very happy when she said yes,” added the director.
“Neerja” is releasing on February 19.