Sonam Kapoor reacts to Neerja criticism: It’s sad, won’t validate it

  • Anjuri Nayar Singh, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Feb 26, 2016 14:07 IST
Sonam Kapoor plays Neerja Bhanot in the eponymous biopic.

Actor Sonam Kapoor’s latest film, Neerja, may be receiving accolades from the audience, but the film seems to have got its share of brickbats too with several people claiming that the facts depicted in the film are not entirely true. The film is based on the life of Pan Am air hostess Neerja Bhanot, who died in a bid to save passengers on a hijacked flight in 1986.

Read: Neerja review

Nupoor Abrol, a crew member on board the same flight, says that the movie gave Neerja “undeserved adulation”. Abrol wrote on Facebook, “Yes, truly a very difficult moment. But also a difficult moment for all those flight attendants to accept the movie for what it is unfairly propagating. Neerja was a wonderful person and I think even her soul today would cringe at taking this undeserved adulation. Not fair to the FA’s who have in reality faced their ordeal!”

Read: Neerja’s father penned this heartbreaking piece post her death in 1986

While Sonam is aware of the criticism, she says that she chose to ignore it. “The film is about Neerja and tells her story. I don’t want to validate and acknowledge that criticism. It was a Facebook post, which was deleted in a few hours. I find it sad when people say these things,” she says, adding, “There is just one person who is saying this. There are passengers, the captain and everyone on the flight, who have been supportive. There is a reason that Neerja received the Ashoka Chakra and the Tamgha-e-Insaniyat and the American Award for Justice. If three governments are giving a girl an award, it is disrespectful for me to come and defend Neerja Bhanot and it’s disrespectful for someone to ask if this is true. I feel like in all humility, we have made this film and given everyone a lot of respect.”

Sonam, whose last film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015), also did well at that box office, adds that she will not take credit for all the appreciation that she has got for her work so far. “Filmmaking is a collaboration and we all need to come together. I would love to take credit for my work, but I cannot. I am a director’s actor and most actors who work in films are. We are not doing theatre, that’s an actor’s medium. I would love to take the adulation, but in good conscience I can’t. A film is a film because everyone worked in it. I am only as good as my co-actor,” she says.

Talking about her individual style of acting, Sonam says that she is someone who makes sure she gets into the skin of her characters. “With any performance or any work that you do, you need to put yourself out there physically, emotionally and mentally. That’s the only way to be an actor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Khoobsurat or a Prem Ratan or a Neerja, you need to be there so that you can connect with people. I tried to do that and I hope people received that,” she says.

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