The team behind “Neerja”, which on Friday was named the winner of the Best Hindi Film at the 64th National Film Awards, are joyous and humbled.
Vijay Singh, CEO of Fox Star Studios, said in a statement: “It’s hugely exciting and humbling that we are now the only studio to have won two National Awards for Best Film (‘Jolly LLB’ and now ‘Neerja’). This recognition gives us further confidence to back great stories and push the envelope on content.” Celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar, who made his foray into film production with the movie and co-produced it, said in a statement: “No one could have scripted this. The recognition that ‘Neerja’ has got from everywhere is genuinely humbling.
“Ram Madhvani and I were clear that we would be achingly honest in its making.”
“Neerja” is based on air hostess Neerja Bhanot, who displayed the utmost courage to deal with armed terrorists and sacrificed her life to save others. Kasbekar also thanked the family of Neerja for their trust and faith.
“We don’t know why they trusted a first time producer and director but we are so grateful that you did,” he added.
Neerja gave up her life two days before she would have turned 23, to save a large group of American children during a hijack of a Pan-Am flight by terrorists at the Karachi International Airport in Pakistan on September 5, 1986. An inspirational tale, the film was appreciated for its performances by Sonam Kapoor and Shabana Azmi, who played her mother on screen.
Sonam won a special mention for her “convincing performance of a real life icon” in the film.