Noor movie review: Sinha shines in a disappointing tale

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Based on Pakistani writer Saba Imtiaz’s novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me! the film has been Indianised to suit our sensibilities.
Rating:2/5

Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Purab Kohli, Shibani Dandekar, Kanan Gill
Director: Sunhil Sippy

A muddle headed young reporter has more misadventures to count than any substantial stories she could be proud of. Although she has a number of ideas that she believes would crack many issues, she doesn’t get a go-ahead from her boss to execute them. Meet Noor Roy Chaudhary (Sonakshi Sinha), a journalist who works for a news agency and juggles her work, love, friends and personal life on a day-to-day basis, Noor could be any other girl from any part of India. On that count, Noor directed by Sunhil Sippy, is utterly believable, and Noor is a girl someone any girl would identify with. Her home life centers around her distant and demanding friends and their sudden plans. In the midst of all this, Noor goes about her life’s some routine and some unexpected moments unflappably, which include venting her frustrations on her beloved dad (M.K. Raina), or showing her displeasure at her maid Malati (Smita Tambe) on not showing up.

Things are fine, rather not all that bad, but, for Noor, nothing seems to be working in her favour. She cannot put a finger on what is it that gets her goat though. To make things worse for her, her boss (Manish Choudhary) — an unemotional louse — doesn’t think much of her not that she has given him any other reasons to have him change his mind. She also hates herself for not being able to shed weight. That’s precisely sums up Noor’s life. And her career. One day, when Noor’s life takes a dramatic turn as she comes across an eye-opening investigative news story, she also begins to find plausible reasons to enjoy living. Almost concurrently, she also finds someone special, Ayananka Banerjee (Purab Kohli) a photojournalist whom she finds “hot” and wouldn’t mind spending an evening with, or hopping out of bed to have coffee with him in the middle of the night.

Till this time, the film looks engaging, and manages to hold one’s attention. Then onwards, the flow of events turns investigative in nature with Noor following a murdertrack, and getting too carried away with it.   The trouble is journalism is not what our films want us to believe it should be. Or it ought to be. Exploring the moral and psychological damage caused by a scribe’s overenthusiastic efforts is akin to squirming in an ugly knot, and that could spell doom. Still, I would have loved to see more of Noor’s idiosyncrasies, or her love life blossoming despite all the unwanted twists that life could thrust on her. What led her to suddenly change her track, and become so charged about something she had no clues about?

What, we too wonder. One could hardly think of a racier subject and a more meandering, listless movie. There’s little else in the narrative that screams for attention. For a cynical look at how far the media has fallen, or how low it’s willing to compromise in the name of survival, seek another movie. This one makes you believe in the mission, and the value a few journalists can bring to a society.That goes for most of the picture: the lines are all cute if you can hear them, but you can’t hear many because everyone is making too much noise —the audience or the players themselves.

Based on Pakistani writer Saba Imtiaz’s novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me! the film has been Indianised to suit our sensibilities. And Ishita Moitra Udhwani, who has written the dialogues, or screenplay writers Althea Delmas-Kaushal and Shikhaa Sharma, who co-wrote the adaptation, have transposed it well. A few characters look unreal,and can be fun if one doesn’t have to put up with them too long and if they don’t insist on being taken too seriously. Under Sippy’s direction, the cast has acknowledged the clamoring script with performances that are hard, brittle and strained to the breaking point. Sinha is splendid, except when she is being consciously cute in this disappointingly shallow movie.

The writer is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art and culture, and other human interest stories.

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