There is a dialogue in the film where Firdaus (Katrina Kaif) tells Noor (Aditya Roy Kapoor) to the effect that if he learns to keep his vision in check, emotion will find itself in control. A poignant thought, perhaps. But when it comes to the visual canvas of the film, you want to keep your eyes open and soak in every bit of the beautifully shot, troubled 'head' of this nation, Kashmir, whether it's the picture postcard perfect snow, auburn autumn, dewy sunshine or falling golden leaves...
The story, inspired by Charles Dickens' famous novel Great Expectations, follows the life of a sensitive Kashmiri boy, played superbly by young Mohammed Abrar, who grows up to be an artist, follows his elusive muse (Kaif), gets mentored and manipulated in the process by her troubled, eccentric mother and heiress, Begum Hazrat (Tabu), a la Miss Havisham, who hasn't forgiven—or forgotten—being deserted by her lover when she was younger and now must punish others by showing them what it is to experience heart-break.
On the larger canvas of the politics of romantic love, director Abhishek Kapoor has crafted in side strokes of political issues: Ajay Devgn's cameo as a jihadi, Indo-Pak relations, idea of independence... When Noor is asked on the opening of his art show what he thinks of the prevailing political condition in the state, he replies diplomatically that it's not easy to separate politics from art or the fact that he's able to breathe and show his art is freedom. But the story doesn't venture deeper into these ideas, leaving them ambiguous.
The glamour and politics of Delhi's swish scene have also been woven into the narrative, with real-life contemporary artists Thukral and Tagra making an appearance as themselves. Unknown to him, strings are pulled and Noor finds himself in Delhi on an art scholarship as 'the boy from Dal', has his work sold in auctions, and gets a prestigious show in London—hues that paint a somewhat picture of the prevailing art market.
Good storyline, well-edited at 131 minutes, competent performances by most, Kapoor has tried to sink his teeth into the meaty role. (The six-pack abs, however, don't really add to the saga of a troubled artist.) Kaif is the quintessential 'strong' character: ambitious, doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve, enjoys horse-riding, smokes when stressed out... Short of bringing depth or any real expression to her character, her bee-stung lips, model-esque poses and perfectly coiffured red hair (the coloring that apparently cost upward of Rs 50 lakh) don't really help matters.
This is a good looking film with good looking people.
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Cast: Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapur, Tabu