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Stardust (English) - - NEWS -

Why did you choose Neerja for your di­rec­to­rial de­but? I am ac­tu­ally in­debted to Atul Kas­bekar since he asked me, twoand-a-half years ago. We’ve known each other over 20 years. Two years back, when he asked me, there was noth­ing that I felt like bit­ing into. But as soon as he said Neerja, I said yes, be­cause I knew of her. One of my busi­ness part­ners did the last ad with Neerja be­fore she flew that night. My wife’s best friend was Neerja’s best friend in school. I knew her story, but today’s gen­er­a­tion does not know about her. She was in the sub-con­scious of peo­ple, but she was in my con­scious­ness. We went to Chandi­garh to meet the fam­ily with Sonam (Kapoor), and I thought she was com­pletely right for the film from day one. Sonam walked into their house and Mrs Bhanot was alive at that time, (she passed away just a day be­fore the trailer-launch of the film) she said ‘ Arre, yeh to meri Laado aa gayi’. Of course, then she said that Neerja was pret­tier (laughs). Daadi ma (Rama Bhanot) was a sweet, pos­i­tive and en­er­getic lady. We worked on the script for two-and-ahalf years, and it was the smoothest pro­ce­dure ever. When­ever there were ob­sta­cles, we felt there was a power re­mov­ing them. There­fore, I kept say­ing the film is blessed. It has be­come the highest gross­ing fe­male-led film in the his­tory of In­dian

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