Mumbai - Captain Devi Sharan had planned to spend the last Christmas Eve of the millennium with his family on vacation, when he got pulled out last minute to fly the now infamous flight of IC 814. What he hadn’t anticipated was that 40 minutes into the flight, five masked men brandishing guns and hand grenades would hijack the Indian Airlines Flight and forever change the lives of its crew and 188 passengers. As it flew from Katmandu to Amritsar to Lahore to Dubai and finally to Kandahar, this flight witnessed a merciless hijacking that held a nation at ransom. This fearsome experience makes the story of the book, Flight Into Fear: The Captain’s Story, which Captain Devi Sharan co-authored with experienced journalist and defense expert, Srinjoy Chowdhury.
Producer Sarita Patil has acquired the rights to the book of this chilling 8 day account of fear, drama, tension and horror, as well as the biopic rights of Captain Devi Sharan, the brave, cool headed man behind this history defining aerial journey.
As emotions run high and raging debates continue over the recent Indo-Pak conflict, the Kandahar hijacking of 1999 comes to mind. 20 years later, one of the three militants freed in exchange for the lives of 188 passengers, Maulana Masood Azhar continues to haunt us.
Sarita Patil has 25 years’ of experience in helming content and production in leading studios in India driving strategic content including feature films in Hindi and regional languages, her latest being Andhadhun. An alumnus of INSEAD, Paris, this first generation producer is keen to capture the Kandahar hijacking on film as her first independent project.
She says, “I believe this is a great story of courage and determination of a Flight Commander displaying the right instincts and presence of mind in the most unexpected and trying circumstances. Captain Devi Sharan is a true hero who stuck to his duty despite the biggest threat- the threat to life, not just his own but also to the lives of those he was responsible for. The Kandahar hijacking is a film that will hold many lessons and important reminders for all of us especially given the tumultuous times we are in today.”
Captain Devi Sharan who still works with Air India adds, “ 20 years on, IC 814 continues to haunt me. The 188 passengers and us, members of the crew of IC 814 are united in an experience and memory that is impossible to erase and eliminate. It defines who we are. I did what I was trained to do, and what I was taught right from my childhood- to uphold people’s trust. I have known Sarita for a very long time. She comes from a family of aviators and I trust her to deliver a fair, true to life account of this hijacking. I’m fully on-board and happy to help her on this project.”