113 user 44 critic

Neerja (2016)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Thriller | 19 February 2016 (USA)
2:40 | Trailer
Neerja is the story of the courageous Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life while protecting the lives of 359 passengers on the Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. The flight was hijacked by a terrorist organization.


Ram Madhvani


Saiwyn Quadras (story and screenplay) (as Saiwyn Qadras), Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh (dialogue) (as Sanyukta Shaikh Chawla)
Top Rated Indian Movies #190 | 30 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Sonam Kapoor ... Neerja Bhanot
Shabana Azmi ... Rama Bhanot
Yogendra Tiku Yogendra Tiku ... Harish Bhanot (as Yogendra Tikku)
Abrar Zahoor Abrar Zahoor ... Safarini
Jim Sarbh ... Khalil
Ali Baldiwala Ali Baldiwala ... Mansoor
Vikrant Singta Vikrant Singta ... Fahad
Parthaa Akerkar ... Flight Passenger (as Parth Akerkar)
Madhu Anand Chandhock ... Rahima Mohammed
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kirti Adarkar Kirti Adarkar ... Passenger
Hayder Ali Hayder Ali ... Passenger Munawar Masih
Amarjit Amarjit ... Passenger (Zayed Hasan)
Arjun Aneja Arjun Aneja
Yugesh Anil Yugesh Anil ... Benett A
Bobby Arora Bobby Arora ... Sardar Family Friend
Learn more

More Like This 

Airlift (2016)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

When Iraq invades Kuwait in August 1990, a callous Indian businessman becomes the spokesperson for more than 170,000 stranded countrymen.

Director: Raja Menon
Stars: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Kumud Mishra
Action | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Pakistani submarine, Ghazi plans to secretly attack Vizag port. For doing so, it has to get past Indian submarine S21.

Director: Sankalp Reddy
Stars: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni
Jolly LLB (2013)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A small time lawyer files a PIL in court against his own idols case.

Director: Subhash Kapoor
Stars: Arshad Warsi, Amrita Rao, Boman Irani
Raanjhanaa (2013)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kundan, the son of a Hindu pundit, discovers that his childhood sweetheart Zoya loves city-bred Akram and wants to marry him. However, he persistently seeks to win her heart.

Director: Aanand L. Rai
Stars: Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Sanju (2018)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Sanju is a biopic of the controversial life of actor Sanjay Dutt: his film career, jail sentence and personal life.

Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala
Pink III (2016)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When three young women are implicated in a crime, a retired lawyer steps forward to help them clear their names.

Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Stars: Taapsee Pannu, Amitabh Bachchan, Kirti Kulhari
Raazi (2018)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Kashmiri woman agrees to marry a Pakistani army officer in order to spy on Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.

Director: Meghna Gulzar
Stars: Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapoor
Udta Punjab (2016)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A story that revolves around drug abuse in the affluent north Indian State of Punjab and how the youth there have succumbed to it en-masse resulting in a socio-economic decline.

Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Stars: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor
Dear Zindagi (2016)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kaira is a budding cinematographer in search of a perfect life. Her encounter with Jug, an unconventional thinker, helps her gain a new perspective on life. She discovers that happiness is all about finding comfort in life's imperfections.

Director: Gauri Shinde
Stars: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor
Kapoor & Sons (2016)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A story revolving around a dysfunctional family of 2 brothers who visit their family and discover that their parents marriage is on the verge of collapse,the family is undergoing a financial crunch and much more as the drama unfolds.

Director: Shakun Batra
Stars: Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Alia Bhatt
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An Indian man with a magnanimous heart takes a young mute Pakistani girl back to her homeland to reunite her with her family.

Director: Kabir Khan
Stars: Salman Khan, Harshaali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Tanu and Manu's marriage collapses. What happens when Manu meets Tanu's lookalike Kusum - and when Tanu returns?

Director: Aanand L. Rai
Stars: Kangana Ranaut, Madhavan, Jimmy Sheirgill


Neerja is the story of the courageous Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life while protecting the lives of 359 passengers on the Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. The flight was hijacked by a terrorist organization.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fear gave her courage.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The aircraft shown in the initial scenes is a more recent version of the Boeing 747 and not the one that was hijacked (Boeing 747-121). See more »


When the 747 is on the Tarmac at Karachi, as one of the hijackers runs up the air-stairs you catch sight of the windows to the upper First Class cabin, there are 9 shown. In reality Pan Am 747's only had a row of three windows in the upper First Class cabin. See more »


Neerja Bhanot: Do your duty, come what may. Never tolerate any injustice and never compromise on self-respect.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, some stills of real Neerja Bhanot appear. See more »


Referenced in The Kapil Sharma Show: Shekhar & Vamps in Kapil Show (2016) See more »


Gehra Ishq
Written by Prasoon Joshi
Produced by Vishal Khurana
Performed by Shekhar Ravjiani
See more »

User Reviews

"Neerja" the movie should be an example to Hollywood and Neerja the person should be an example to us all.
8 March 2016 | by dave-mcclainSee all my reviews

Hollywood filmmakers could learn a few things from filmmakers in India when it comes to making a movie about a true story. The drama "Neerja" (NR, 2:02), about one of India's national heroes, is a prime example of that. This story needed no embellishments, and screenwriters Saiwyn Quadras and Sanyukta Shaikh Chawla along with Ram Madhvani, directing only his second feature film, clearly understand that. No typical Hollywood phrases like "inspired by a true story" or "based on true events" were needed. These Indian filmmakers respected history enough to tell this story as it actually happened, accurate in the film's major plot points and its relatively minor details. Hollywood, THIS is how you tell a true story.

Neerja Bhanot (Sonam Kapoor) is a 22-year-old flight attendant, about to celebrate her 23rd birthday. She's a happy and vibrant young woman, as we see during a birthday party early in the film. We also notice how beautiful Neerja is. She was a model, but her emotionally abusive husband pressured her to quit so she could spend more time and energy tending to his needs. Eventually, Neerja made the socially difficult decision to get a divorce. She then went to work for Pan Am Airlines. Neerja's mother, Rama (Shabana Azmi) asks her to leave the airline and go back to modeling. "I like my job," is Neerja's reply. So, in the early morning hours of September 5, 1986, Neerja drags herself out of bed and gets ready to go work a flight from Mumbai to New York, by way of Karachi, Pakistan and Frankfurt, Germany. Her boyfriend, Jaideep (Shekhar Ravjiani) shows up at her parents' house to drive Neerja to the airport. He hands her an early birthday gift and makes her promise not to open it until her birthday, two days later.

This is a big day for Neerja. It's her first time being a lead flight attendant, a promotion which turns out to be very fortunate for the passengers and crew of Pan Am Flight 73. When the plane lands in Karachi to pick up more passengers for the next leg of its scheduled flight, four of those passengers turn out to be terrorists with the Abu Nidal Organization. As they begin to take control of the plane (which is still on the ground), Neerja quickly warns the flight crew, who at first hesitate, but then follow protocol and abandon the cockpit so they can't be forced to fly the plane. The hijackers demand that new pilots be sent to the plane, but are forced into lengthy negotiations with Pakistani authorities. Throughout the ordeal, Neerja helps her fellow flight attendants keep calm and leads them in taking care of the passengers as well as possible. As the standoff between the terrorists and airport officials drags on, we periodically see short flashbacks of Neerja's past, showing us who she is as a person, how she got to this point in her life and why she's able to remain strong in such extraordinary circumstances. On the plane, we see Neerja continually insist on being the one to deal with the terrorists personally. In doing so, she puts her own life at risk – increasingly so when she secretly works against them and as the terrorists become more and more agitated until this true story reaches its dramatic and shocking conclusion.

From an American perspective, "Neerja" is a combination of 2006's "United 93" and 2013's "Captain Phillips", but it's even more remarkable when you realize that what Neerja accomplished was through her own singular strength of character and force of will and with the help of only a handful of similarly brave flight attendants. The first few scenes of the film and the flashbacks that we see during the hijacking are well-placed and, more importantly, provide excellent character development which makes the audience feel that they are really starting to get to know Neerja as a person. The acting is excellent and the film is well-paced and not exploitive in any way. Neerja isn't shown as a super woman – just a virtuous and determined one. The hijackers aren't being shown in order to make any political point – only because they were violent men who did terrible things. The ending isn't there to make the film overly emotional – just true and factual. (Hollywood filmmakers, are you paying attention?) The great thing about this film for westerners is, for most of us, the story is fresh and new. Yes, the movie is in Hindi with English subtitles, but English-speaking Movie Fans who are open-minded enough to give a "foreign film" a shot will be richly rewarded. More than "just" a story about a famous young Indian woman, this story involves Americans in a significant way, and, even if it didn't, Neerja's heroism knows no nationality. Her actions represented humanity at its finest and should be a lesson to all of us. I'm very thankful that the Indian filmmakers responsible for this movie had the talent and the integrity to tell the story so well and so truthfully. Neerja deserves no less and audiences need no more. "A+"

15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 113 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Twitter | See more »





Release Date:

19 February 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neerja See more »


Box Office


$2,900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$626,528, 21 February 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Recently Viewed