Noor is a journalist who juggles her work, love and personal life on a day-to-day basis. One day, Noor's life takes a dramatic turn when she comes across an eye-opening investigative news story.
By Noyon Jyoti Parasara
When told by her boss to interview Sunny Leone, a reluctant and rain drenched Noor reaches Mumbai’s Filmcity. Soon after, as she gets onto the camera, Noor is not as wet. She cribs about her life and her weight but clearly is really hot because her clothes seem to have dried fast on her. On a serious note, that’s not quite how broadcast journalism works. Of course, these are just the minor glitches.
For most of its first half Noor is a breezy comedy, before the drama sets in. The story is about a 28-year old journalist struggling to find her way to glory. She is not doing the kind of work she wants to do, not earning the kind of money she would like to… not exactly leading the life she wishes to. And she is perennially grumpy. The film takes a dip into the world of journalism, something Bollywood has rarely looked at. It deals with the internal conflict of journalists while dealing with stories that can make a difference and at the same time could possibly put people in harm’s way. The dilemma of getting the priority right is hard.
More importantly, it is about Mumbai, a city where life possibly faces some of the most difficult challenges that urban society has to offer. And journalism provides the perfect mirror to the world we live in.
Director Sunhil Sippy adapts best-selling novel Karachi You Are Killing Me written by Pakistani author Saba Imtiaz and sets it in the maximum city. He has Sonakshi Sinha playing the 28-year old Noor who fits into the character with all her zeal. As Noor, Sonakshi brings out her best work so far. Her equation with her friends, played by Kanan Gill and Shibani Dandekar, bring in some lovely lighter moments.
The problem starts in the second half when the screenplay needs to delve into the nitty-gritty of journalism, of how research on a story is done and how a report is filed. While working on a story she hits rock bottom as she loses love, job and her will to make a difference. In efforts to find salvation, she puts together a story that takes the masks off a massive scam. However, what we see is far from convincing.
The writing is lazy and so is the research on how journalism really works, as the director skirts through the surface of it. The screenplay fails to generate any surprise moments and plot points can be seen from a mile away. The dialogues, however, work well, fitting all the characters. A particular monologue featuring Sonakshi Sinha in the second works towards keeping the emotional connect for the film.
Among good things, the cinematography is a highlight. Sunhil Sippy and cinematographer Keiko Nakahara manage to bring out a new side to Mumbai, never for once resorting to visuals we have earlier seen. The Japanese Nakahara’s shot taking looks inspired by cinema from her country, which works beautifully as they zoom into the vertical slums of Mumbai.
Internet sensation Kanan Gill is perfectly cast in his debut film and so is Shibani Dandekar. The best among the actors is Smita Tambe who plays the housemaid Malti. Her role is short but she packs enough punch to leave an impression. Purab Kohli is convincing as a photographer and the beau.
Overall, Noor is a fairly engaging watch if you are willing to overlook the falls. It primarily works because of Sonakshi Sinha’s and the dialogues written by Ishita Moitra. Expect a movie that actually delves deep into journalism and the traps of a metro life and you might be pretty disappointed.