Today sees the release of the much awaited biopic Neerja, that's based on the life of the late Neerja Bhanot, who saved many lives and became an international hero. While the film has been received with critical acclaim all over, Bollywood Hungama found out that, in order to keep the film as real as possible, its makers have walked that extra mile to maintain the authenticity and realism. We caught up with the film's producer Atul Kasbekar who told us more about it.
Most of the actors playing the passengers have done a very good job. In fact some of them are even theater actors. Talking about those actors, Atul says, "Not all of them were from theater. Many were aspiring artistes but we never treated them like junior artistes. We treated them like featured cast. The casting director Kanika Beri went through a 1000 odd applicants, before she settled down on the 329 of the said cast."
The actors who played the terrorists also came from theater background but to maintain authenticity in their performances, they were kept away from the rest of the cast who played passengers. Informs Atul, "They were never allowed to mingle with passengers. Even their workshops were done separately and that's why they never met each other. The first time they saw each other was the time when the terrorists hold a gun on Sonam Kapoor and the passengers' faces. The shock of the whole sequence is extremely real and has been captured really well by Mitesh Mirchandani on camera."
In fact precautions were also taken to keep the actors playing terrorists away from the rest of the cast even between shots, by giving them their own vanity vans. "They never met before and even when they met was the time when we had to shoot in the plane. And once the shot was over, they were taken away to a totally separate section altogether almost 200 metres away from the others. Their food etc. was served to them in their own vans."
No wonder the hard work put into the making shows onscreen.