Neerja is a biopic and a cinematic representation of the dramatic events that unfolded on September 5th, 1986 when Pan Am Flight 73 from Bombay to New York was hijacked in transit at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi by Palestinian extremists from Abu Nidal’s terrorist outfit.
This is the story of Neerja Bhanot, a 22-year-old part-time model, who was the head purser on the flight. Neerja had escaped an abusive marriage and, as a life change, decided to become an airhostess, subsequently impressing everyone so much that they made her a purser.
Throughout the horrifying ordeal, Neerja didn’t succumb to her fears and instead fought her personal demons from the past and, from the minute the plane was hijacked through the terrifying 17 hours to the grueling end, used her courage, wits and compassion to make sure the passengers were protected, going so far as to hide the passports of the American passengers. Through her swift thinking and brave actions, she managed to save the lives of 359 passengers and crew on board out of 379, all at the cost of her own life.
Neerja was hailed internationally as ‘the heroine of the hijack’ and posthumously became the youngest recipient of India’s highest civilian honour for bravery, the Ashoka Chakra; was bestowed the Flight Safety Foundation Heroism award by USA; Tamgha-e-Insaaniyat (awarded for showing incredible human kindness) by Pakistan; Justice for Crimes Award by United States Attorney’s Office for the district of Columbia; Special Courage Award by the US government; and the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry’s Award.
This is a portrayal of Neerja’s strength, courage and sacrifice and an attempt to bring before the world this lesser known Indian hero’s story, so that she becomes an example and inspiration to girls the world over for generations to come.
Neerja is produced by Fox Star Studios and co-produced by Bling Unplugged and has been directed by celebrated ad film director, Ram Madhvani. Actress Sonam Kapoor is playing the role of the young brave heart and adding to the cast is veteran and internationally renowned actress, Shabana Azmi, playing the role of Neerja’s mother.
20th Century Fox will release Neerja in UK cinemas on 19th February 2016.
20th Century Fox will release Karan Malhotra’s Brothers in UK cinemas on 14th August 2014.
An Indian adaptation of the hugely popular hit, Warrior (starring Tom Hardy), Brothers is the hard-hitting action-drama surrounding a broken family forced to face up to one another mentally and physically, all within the world of mixed martial arts and underground street fighting.
The film stars one of India’s most reputed actors Akshay Kumar (a martial artist, who has launched stars such as Kylie Minogue, Snoop Dogg and Sylvester Stallone in Bollywood) and emerging star Siddharth Malhotra. The film is a co-production between Endemol India and one of India’s leading production companies, Dharma Productions.
David (Akshay Kumar) is forced to confront his underlying problems when he finds himself reunited with his estranged family; his father (Jackie Shroff) returns after serving a ten-year prison sentence, and Monty (Sidharth Malhotra) the struggling alcoholic who is active in the world of street fighting, yearns for acceptance and love from his family. Brought together by the arrival of India’s biggest international event in mixed martial arts history, ‘Right to Fight’, the family must face each other, and their demons, to win the ultimate battle, and find redemption.
Watch the trailer here:
Dharma Productions has released the first trailer of their much-awaited sports drama film, Brothers. The action packed film stars superstar Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez and Jackie Shroff.
Brothers is an official remake of Hollywood film Warrior (2011) and is co-produced by Lionsgate Films and Endemol India. The film will release in UK cinemas on 14th August through 20th Century Fox.
The film is directed by Karan Malhotra and produced by Karan Johar.
Watch the trailer here:
Check out photos of the trailer launch by Yogen Shah:
Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri can now be seen in UK cinemas in the new action-comedy film, Spy, also starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney and Jude Law.
The gorgeous actress plays a small but pivotal role in the film and has a major action sequence with actress McCarthy in the movie.
Nargis, who was born in New York, made her Bollywood debut opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar and was most recently seen in Main Tera Hero with Varun Dhawan.
The 35-year-old star recently flew into London to walk the red carpet at the European premiere of Spy, held at Leicester Square, and caught up with BollyNewsUK ahead of her big night.
You have flown in from Kenya. What were you doing there?
Oh My God, I was saving rhinos (Rhinoceros). There is only one left. It was at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya. He’s the last male northern white rhino in the world. Can you imagine that there will be no more once he dies? There used to be twenty-thousand from the 1960s and now there is only one left. I was there to raise awareness because people should visit the place because it’s an once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was also trying to get people to donate as they’re trying IVF and it’s very costly.
The last time you were in London to promote a movie was for Rockstar (2011). How has it been so far to be here for Spy?
Wow, that was such a long time ago. I love London and it’s always nice to be here, especially when the weather is nice. It’s really close to Mumbai too as it’s only eight-hours on a flight compared to sixteen-hours to New York or even twenty-four-hours to Los Angeles.
You are represented by CAA KWAN in India, formerly known as KWAN, who joined hands with CAA, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, a few years ago. Did ‘Spy’ happen through that association?
No, my agent in London DAA were handling everything in relation to Spy. I actually met Paul Feig, the director, in LA a while back. It was quite surprising that he knew about Bollywood and Indian cinema. He knew about the work that I had done. We were having a meal when he mentioned to me that he will be starting a movie and there is a role that he felt I was perfect for. He asked me whether I would have time for it. I said yes immediately.
Were you worried about how much screen time you’ll get in your debut Hollywood movie?
I have realised that Hollywood and Bollywood are very separate things. They don’t get each other. They have a different way of doing things. I was born in New York City and was exposed to American cinema from a young age. I have friends who are actors, writers and entertainers. I know how hard it is to get into the industry. It’s super hard. You have talented people struggling for years. Yes, same goes for Bollywood but you don’t get judged for having small part in a film in Hollywood. You can have a really small role in one film and be the leading actor in your next. It doesn’t work the same way in Bollywood. If you do a supporting role, you get pigeonholed and only end up doing that. In Bollywood you have to work with the big guys and that’s it. You can’t work with anyone else. I understand that but getting offered this part in Spy with this amazing director and cast was a no-brainer. It doesn’t matter how many minutes I’m on-screen or how big the role is, this is a big deal.
Was the experience more comfortable for you, compared to working in Hindi movies, because English is your first language?
It was but the sense of humour culturally is very different in India. I get the American sense of humour and even the British one. In Main Tera Hero, we have a scene where Varun sings a bhajan (devotional song) to the beat of Ranbir’s Badtameez Dil. I just didn’t get that (laughs). I really questioned everyone and asked how this is funny? Anupam Kher explained it to and had to associate it with something that I would understand. Then I said, “Oh, that’s funny”. With me, it’s sometimes lost in translation in Bollywood. I literally translate everything and I don’t get the jokes. Then someone has to explain it to me. I am the poor person that has the delayed reaction to a joke (laughs).
There is a major action sequence in the film between you and Melissa McCarty. Did you have to prepare a lot?
I had three days of choreography and quite some time over the day going over everything. There were still issues when we filmed it. I hurt myself a few times and Mellisa hurt me a couple of times too. But it turned out alright in the end.
Spy, released by 20th Century Fox, is in UK cinemas now.
This interview was first published in Asian Sunday Newspaper (National).
Star India has initiated a path-breaking deal with Dharma Productions to alter the landscape of the world’s largest cinema market, with a first of its kind game changing creative partnership that would see Dharma and Fox Star Studios co-produce and distribute films worldwide.
Star India, India’s leading media and entertainment conglomerate, which has been redefining boundaries in entertainment, sports broadcast and digital content, through Fox Star Studios, India’s premier movie production and distribution company, which is a joint venture between 20th Century Fox and Star India, have partnered with Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Bollywood’s most successful creative production house, to form a unique creative and business partnership. The deal is to produce nine films spread over a period of three years.
“The Indian film industry is an important market for us and this strategic partnership offers us an excellent opportunity to fundamentally change the content quality paradigm. This venture is the natural step in our progression to create entertaining and eclectic content for a global audience and to grow the business through game-changing innovation in content, marketing and distribution, ” said Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India. “Fox Star is delighted to partner with Karan Johar, a creative visionary and one of the industry’s leading director-producer’s with an impressive line-up of films planned in the coming few years,” he added.
“Movies for me have always been a blend of artistic and commercial resources. Dharma Productions has always endeavoured to attain the highest form of celluloid excellence and entertain simultaneously. I am glad we have found a partner in Star India and Fox Star Studios for a visionary 9 films alliance,” said Karan Johar. “This partnership will not only be the coming together of two forces who understand the need of the cinematic hour but also work as a unit to increase the footfall strength at the movies and empower other verticals. It’s a new age of cinema and this association is a glorious reflection of the times,” he added.
The venture will provide a much-needed impetus to the Hindi film industry that is witnessing a rapid metamorphosis with audiences becoming more judicious given the varied entertainment preferences accessible to them.
Fox Star and Dharma will collaborate and work towards the entire slate of nine films which boasts of a stellar line up of titles, helmed by the country’s finest actors, directors, including Karan himself.
20th Century Fox will release upcoming Dharma Productions in UK cinemas starting with Akshay Kumar-Siddharth Malhotra starrer Brother this August.
Karan Johar’s next directorial, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which will be filmed extensively in the UK this year will also be released worldwide and in UK cinemas through 20th Century Fox in 2016.