Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt
Sonam Kapoor (as Neerja) and Alia BhattInstagram/Varinder Chawla

Alia Bhatt was reportedly first considered for the lead role in "Neerja" but the actress lost the opportunity due to her height. The movie "Neerja" was based on the life of Neerja Bhanot and the lead role was eventually played by Sonam Kapoor. 

Fox Star Studios were of the opinion that Alia would fit into the character of Neerja Bhanot but co-producer Atul Kasbekar said that Sonam would look perfect in the role as she is taller than Alia, according to SpotboyE. "Buzz is Kasbekar and his team believed that Sonam who is taller than Alia would suit the part better. Sonam is at least 5 inches taller than Alia," the report said. 

Earlier, "Neerja" director Ram Madhvani also said that Sonam was the first choice for the movie. "She really was our first choice. And if she would have said no, then we would have looked elsewhere. I am happy she said yes. There were many reasons why Sonam. She has been doing single female-oriented films where she goes up there and she helms," the director told the Quint.

"Neerja" showcased the life of Neerja Bhanot who lost her life saving passengers on the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in 1986. The 23-year-old flight attendant was honoured with India's highest bravery award -- the Ashok Chakra -- and was also honoured by the USA and Pakistan government. 

The movie "Neerja" also featured Shabana Azmi and Shekhar Ravjiani among others. Released on Feb. 19, the film received critical appreciation and was liked by the audience too. "Neerja" had a good box office run with a collection of around Rs 70 crores (net) in the domestic market.

Meanwhile, Alia is currently busy for the shooting of her upcoming movie "Kapoor and Sons," featuring Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan. The film will hit the screens March 18.