Read on to know the brave Pan Am flight attendant who sacrificed her life saving others as shared by her brother Aneesh!
When ace-photographer Atul Kasbekar decided to make a film based on the seven page script brought to him by his team, little did he know that it will result into something so extraordinary which will be remembered for the times to come.
Neerja Bhanot, a flight attendant for Pan Am, lost her life saving 359 passengers from terrorists on board of the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 on 5 September 1986. Her story will now be showcased in a film directed by Ram Madhvani, which has Sonam Kapoor essaying the role of Neerja. Although the film revolves around Neerja, there are parts of her life that will be omitted from this film. For instance, her short-lived marriage, obviously coz the film is dealing with a particular incident.
When BollywoodLife caught up with the brother of this martyr, he was kind enough to share the details years after the wretched incident. “Neerja was very high on principles that’s why she walked out of her marriage within one month,” said Aneesh Bhanot. “There was a guy, an engineer working on an oil rig in Sharjah. My father read a matrimonial in a train on his way to Churchgate, he called the guy up. They came to meet with us and we were very clear on one thing that there will be no dowry. We are an anti-dowry family and they agreed to it but the minute Neerja went to Sharjah they started troubling her. Even when she had to make a phone call, she had to pay them money. They cut her off food. When she wanted to return; she came back saying she has a modeling assignment in hand. They didn’t even give her the taxi fare from Sharjah to the airport.”
In any regular Indian family, if a daughter likes to leave her husband and come back to her native family, generally there’s a notion that it will not be accepted due to societal norms but not for Neerja. The braveheart had a strong family supporting her at all times which is why when she headed home, her family welcomed her with open arms. Recalling the adverse time, Aneesh shared, “When she came back she was sitting on the dining table and said ‘I don’t want to go back’. My dad was like if you feel like not going back then not a problem and that’s how she ended it.”
However, that was not the end for what seemed like a sad twist of fate for the newly married. “Then the guy sent a letter to her mentioning conditions as to why he is better than her and the last line (of the letter) was ‘you are just a graduate, I am this I am that, who do you think you are’ saying that either you come back or consider the marriage finished. Later Neerja told us that she will show him who she is and she told my dad that ‘I will show the world who I am’ and this was seven eight months before the hijack incident,” shares Aneesh.
He further went on to say that Neerja was a very brave soul right from the beginning. Sonam Kapoor's Neerja releases in theatres on February 19. Meanwhile you stayed tune to BollywoodLife for latest Bollywood updates!
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