Having experienced Neerja Bhanot's mother's "spiritedness and warmth" in person, actress Shabana Azmi says she felt a huge responsibility to play her on screen in the upcoming biopic "Neerja".

Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi

The movie revolves around Neerja, a flight attendant on board a Pan Am Mumbai-New York flight, who was shot dead by terrorists during the hijacking while trying to save the lives of passengers.

Actress Sonam Kapoor will be seen playing the titular character.

Speaking about her meeting with Neerja's mother Rama Bhanot, Shabana told reporters here, "I had a good fortune of meeting Rama ji... I met the family and I was struck by Rama ji and there was a connection I felt with her. We spoke for almost half an hour and it felt we have known each other forever.

"... I was struck by her spiritedness, by her engagement with life and everything around her, the warmth and the compassion that greets you with so when I got the part I felt the responsibility on me was that much greater and I needed to bring about that spiritedness," the 65-year-old actress added.

Directed by Ram Madhavani, "Neerja" will hit theatres this Friday, February 19.