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New Delhi: Recently released biopic, Neerja, starring Sonam Kapoor depicts the story of a fearless young woman with a promising modelling and flying career who lost her life while saving the passengers from the armed terrorists, is turning out to be an inspiration to the youth who were unaware of the happenings, said her brother.

“I have been flooded with phone calls, messages and Facebook posts from across the country and all over the world ever since ‘Neerja’ released. It is quite overwhelming. The film has been really well made and Neerja’s portrayal does full justice to her act of courage,” said Aneesh Bhanot, brother of the Pan-Am senior flight purser.


Neerja’s brothers, Akhil and Aneesh, have received praise from across the globe applauding her courageous act during the hijack.

“People who have seen the film in the United States, Australia and other countries are either calling up or sending messages about her act of courage and how so many of them have been moved after watching the movie. Many survivors of the hijacking have also been in touch,” Aneesh said.

In the United States, people who have gone to see the film have installed electric candles inside movie theatres, Aneesh pointed out.

House No. 3727 in Chandigarh’s Sector 46, the residence of Neerja’s brothers, is aptly named ‘Neerja Niwas’. They have proudly put a plaque outside the gate mentioning the Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award for bravery, given to Neerja Bhanot in 1987.

Braveheart Neerja Bhanot who gave up her life two days before she would have turned 23, was the first women to receive Ashok Chakra.

She saved a large group of American children during the terrorist hijack of a Pan-Am flight at Karachi international airport in Pakistan on September 5, 1986.

“By bringing the story back to the youth, the film is doing great service to the community. Many youths didn’t even know her (Neerja) story. The film tells them that there is nothing to fear, even as a woman, from terrorists or anyone,” Aneesh said.

Aneesh, the younger brother, wished to watch the movie all by himself and quietly booked the tickets for the first show.

“I wanted to go and see this alone. I thought that (director Ram Madhvani) and his team have really done a very good job,” said Aneesh, who was in tears during the film.

His family members also went to see the show very first day. The film, released on Feb 19, left the Bhanot family with the memories of the Events of September 5-7, 1986.

Neerja, 23-year-old young women, was the senior flight purser of Pan-Am 73 (Bombay-Karachi-Frankfurt-New York) who got killed in the shootout following the hijack. Palestinian terrorists from the Abu Nidal group had entered the aircraft posing as Pakistani police personnel, carrying arms and hand grenades. 20 people dead and 150 injured after a bloodbath at the airport. There were around 200 Indian passengers on the flight, out of which 13 died while over 100 were injured.(IANS) (Image Courtesy: desimartini.com)


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