Ace photographer Atul Kasbekar, who ventures into production with "Neerja", says he always had Ram Madhvani in mind to helm the biopic.
"Neerja" is a biopic featuring Sonam Kapoor as Neerja Bhanot, a Pan Am chief purser who was gunned down by terrorists when a flight in Karachi was hijacked in 1986. She saved a number of lives but lost her own.
Kasbekar added that he wanted to narrate the story with "aching honesty" and Madhvani has brought it into the film perfectly.
"We just wanted a different kind of energy at the helm of 'Neerja'. An energy and thought process that was unique, without compromise and achingly honest. Ram is all that and more. Together we formed a great combination," Kasbekar said in a statement.
According to a source, Kasbekar had planned a 10-minute meeting with Madhvani to discuss the story idea, and by the end of it he had convinced Madhvani to do the film.
Kasbekar also shared that he gave creative freedom to Madhvani, who made his directorial debut with the English language film "Lets Talk", which released in 2002.
"I got him everything he needed and created a cocoon around him to protect his vision. He in turn was open to any and every suggestion without ego, safe in the knowledge that the final call was his," Kasbekar said.
"Neerja" also stars Shabana Azmi and Shekhar Ravjiani. It is slated to release on February 19.