Shabana’s ‘special connection’ with Neerja Bhanot’s mother

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Mumbai, June 10 (IANS) Veteran actress Shabana Azmi, who will play the role of Neerja Bhanot’s mother Rama in the upcoming biopic “Neerja”, says she gets along “really well” with the real life mom of the late daredevil flight attendant.

Directed by debutant Ram Madhvani, “Neerja”, which will feature Sonam Kapoor in the title role, will focus on the life of Neerja Bhanot, a PanAm flight attendant who lost her life trying to save the lives of passengers from terrorists on board the hijacked PanAm Flight 73 on September 5, 1986. She was only 22.

“I had the good fortune of meeting Ramaji in person last year when I was invited to Chandigarh to present the Neerja Bhanot Award. She is lovely and we get along really well. When I was offered the role, I felt it was because of a special connection we made,” Shabana said in a statement.

The title role of Neerja is being essayed by Sonam Kapoor in the movie, and Shabana is happy to work with her.

“Sonam is the daughter of Anil (Kapoor) and Sunita (Kapoor) who have been very close friends for more than 30 years. I have watched her grow up and I have deep affection for her. Last but not the least, I look forward to work with Ram, who has been friend of many years and whose taste for cinema I share,” the 64-year-old added.

The director says he feels proud that the versatile actress said ‘yes’ to the film without thinking twice.

Madhvani said: “I have been an avid fan of Shabana from the beginning of her career. Our connect is immediate and deep because of the kind of cinema we both believe in. When people ask me who is acting in ‘Neerja’, I am always proud to say Shabana Azmi. I’m privileged that Shabana agreed to act in the film.”

Presented by Fox Star Studios, “Neerja” is produced by Bling Unplugged.

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