Neerja Bhanot was a model and purser for the airline Pan American Am Airways. She was shot and killed while saving hundreds of passengers on board Pan Am Flight 73, which was hijacked by 4 terrorists from the Abu Nidal Organization, on 5 September 1986 at Karachi airport in Pakistan.. She became the youngest recipient of India’s highest peacetime award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra. She remains a model for every human as she exhibited the highest level of courageousness, human kindness and unselfishness.
Neerja Bhanot was born in Chandigarh, India, and brought up in Mumbai. She was the daughter of Harish Bhanot, a Mumbai-based journalist, and Rama Bhanot. She had two brothers: Akhil and Aneesh Bhanot.
The aircraft was carrying 361 passengers and 19 crew members. The terrorists wanted to fly to Cyprus with the goal of freeing Palestinian prisoners in both Cyprus and Israel. Bhanot was able to alert the cockpit crew as soon as the hijackers boarded the plane, and as the plane was on the tarmac, the three-member cockpit crew of pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer left the aircraft through an overhead hatch in the cockpit. As the most senior cabin crew member she took charge of the situation and reduced the number of casulaties on the fateful day.She saved 359 people among 379 and was shot dead while saving 3 American children.
This year a biopic of Neerja Bhanot was released. a 2016 Indian Hindi-language biographical thriller film directed by Ram Madhvani and written by Saiwyn Quadras and Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh. It was produced by Atul Kasbekar’s company, Bling Unplugged, alongside Vijay Singh’s Fox Star Studios. The film features Sonam Kapoor as the title character, with Shabana Azmi, Yogendra Tiku and Shekhar Ravjiani in supporting roles.
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In loving memory of Neerja Bhanot.