Movie Review
Noor:Leaves audience be-noor

Direction: Sunhil Sippy    Novel: Saba Imtiaz    Screenplay: Althea Kaushal, Shikhaa Sharma, Sunhil Sippy    Dialogue: Ishita Moitra


Erm. Can anyone explain to me why Sonakshi Sinha’s recent movies are being titled after the character she plays: ‘Akira,’ ‘Noor.’

Next. Can anyone explain to me what this blasted movie is actually about? The story runs the gamut from a crash course on what constitutes a good journalist (HA!) to the trend of social media, to organ harvesting to a sudden rant on Mumbai and its cesspools and slums.

Sonakshi Sinha plays Noor, a ditzy girl who has a negative view of everything, knocks the rum back faster than Captain Jack Sparrow, and has aspirations of being a “serious” journalist but is stuck doing nonsensical stories for Shekhar (Manish Chaudhary.) This is a real rum (pardon the pun!) boss-employee relationship, coz Noor wanders in and out of the office at will and also takes potshots at Shekhar and his lack of balls, which the dude swallows quietly. Apparently CNBC and BBC won’t have her, but we don’t know why she doesn’t just move on to another outfit. In between all this, there is some footage devoted to Sunny Leone (playing herself) when Noor is sent to interview her, which she clearly finds a brain-dead task (wonder whether Sunny has picked up enough Hindi to know what was being said about her!)

Shekhar then sends Noor on an assignment to interview some Dr Dilip Shinde who claims to be a philanthropist. While she’s checking the tape in her bedroom, her maid happens to see the footage – and we the audience can see what’s coming next a mile away. Maid Malti (Smita Tambe) tells Noor the doc is a baddie who removed her brother’s kidney, so Noor quickly makes the assumption she’s stumbled onto a BIG organ harvesting scam and this is her BIG story. She now happens to tell her boyfriend Ayan (Purab Kohli) who whisks her off for some presumably mindblowing sex and then, while she’s sleeping away the afterglow, breaks her story all over television as his own.  Malti and her brother also disappear.

The brother’s body is later found dumped in a garbage heap. Noor now spends time futilely trying to manao a pissed- off Malti, including sending the maid a Facebook friend request! Such is the power of social media, the film’s director Sunhill Sippy will have us know, that in the midst of despair, the maid is still checking Facebook and Noor’s cup of happiness overfloweth when her friend request is accepted! Bejesus. Of such oddities is this movie comprised!

‘Noor’ is supposed to be based on the book, ‘Karachi, you’re killing me’ by Saba Imtiaz. I haven’t read the book but, from reviews, I gather it’s a cross between Bridget Jones and the Shopaholic series. How the director with the oddly-spelt name (Sunhill Sippy) thought this could be churned into a visual delight, beats me. It doesn’t help that a weak script with no baseline (writers: Althea Delmas-Kaushal, Shikha Sharma, Sunhill Sippy and Saba Imtiaz) is further hampered by thakela dialogues (Ishita Moitra Udhwani) to wit: “Hope you’re looking hot?” “Iss ghar mein toh geyser bhi hot nahin hai!”

To be fair, there are some relatable angles here that many young female professionals would have faced, be it a bad hair day or a weight issue; the frustrations of dealing with home problems such as the afore-mentioned geyser; to being alone on one’s birthday, but these are few and far between.

The protagonists of ‘Noor’ are Skype and Facebook! Oh – and Haldiram’s sev. None of the characters have been well fleshed out, although Manish Chaudhary tries. Kannan Gill as Noor’s childhood friend is passable, even as it’s clear he’s uncertain what to do from one moment to the next. Shibani Dandekar as the third angle of this trio leaves no impact. Due to a script that falls well short, one is not sure whether Purab Kohli is mercenary or just a wimp. Noor’s daddy was doing well enough as benign parent but suddenly has a senile moment when Noor is on Skype with Ayan. Suchitra Pillai has a cameo as Shekhar’s wife; I have more acting talent in my little finger than this lady could hope to achieve in a lifetime and it’s time people stopped offering her roles. Sonakshi Sinha tries too hard to come across this partying, devil-may-care, spectacled, tough chick who’s suddenly hit by an attack of conscience, but is unable to pull it off. Not that she is the stuff legends are made of, but one is surprised at this distinctly below-par performance.

Music is by Amaal Malik, with lyrics by Kumar and Manoj Muntashir and background score by Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor. The remix of ‘Gulabi aankhein’ is passable; Sonu Nigam tries to ape Rafisaab but would have done better to sing in his own style. Cinematography is by Keiko Nakahara; nothing outstanding. Editing is by Aarif Sheikh who should have wielded the scissors with more aplomb on this one.

The best moment of ‘Noor’ is well at the end, with Diljit Dosanjh as a special treat singing, ‘Move your lakk’ (written and composed by Badshah.) And if that’s the best moment of the movie, then that says it all!

   Punam Mohandas

Punam Mohandas is a journalist and author who is also a film buff, accomplished travel writer and an expert on South Asia. She also writes columns on film personalities. She has lived and worked in India, Dubai and Bangkok.

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