"Shabana ji gave the nod for the film within a day. It was my idea to cast Shabana ji for the role, but others were not convinced as they thought she would not be ready to do the film," said Atul.

"She is one of the finest actresses and I am just a novice in film production. Shabana ji is close to Rama Bhanot and as she came to know that I have bought the rights of the story from the family, she agreed to do it”, Atul said.

“Despite the low budget, she did the film. She is a true artiste and has an eagerness to do good roles. I feel these kinds of honest and sincere roles are rarely offered to actors these days," he added.

Shabana plays a character based on Rama Bhanot, the mother of Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life while saving numerous lives on a hijacked plane in 1986.

The film 'Neerja' is based on this real-life incident.

As seen in the trailer and songs, the mother-daughter bond between Sonam Kapoor and Shabana Azmi is crucial to the plot of the film.

'Neerja', which also stars Shekhar Ravjiani, is slated to release on February 19.


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