We have seen various portrayals of women journalists on the big screen—Preity Zinta in Lakshya, Konkona Sen Sharma in Page 3, Rani Mukherjee in No One Killed Jessica—but nothing comes close to Sunhil Sippy’s Noor, that traces the journey of a 28-year old television journalist, on a look out for two things—a path breaking news story and a boyfriend. Noor is a film adaptation of Pakistani-journalist Saba Imtiaz’s book Karachi, You’re Killing Me!
If it was the Bridget Jones's Diary-like trailer that drew you to the theatre, you shall not be disappointed, at least in the first half. The film kicks off fairly well. Taking a leaf out of Renée Zellwegger's 2001 classic, the long voice-overs introduce us to Noor Roy Chaudhary’s (Sonakshi Sinha) world, complete with a calm and casual father (M.K. Raina), his haughty cat, a friendly maid (Smita Tambe), childhood friends Saad (Kanan Gill) and Zara (Shibani Dandekar), and a once idealistic but now feckless boss Shekhar (Manish Chaudhary). On a personal level, Noor juggles with many problems—body weight issues, dismal love life, terrible hangovers, uninspiring job, and general lack of motivation to do, well, anything but crib. Though most scenes are predictable, Sinha, with her ease and sheer effortlessness keeps you glued to the screen, making you fall for the charms of a bit self-indulgent, yet a sweet city girl next door. With her impeccable comic timing, Sinha plays the part to perfection.
However, the problem begins when the focus shifts to Noor, the journalist. In one scene, Noor wakes up with a hangover, cribbing: “Why does everything that starts great end up so bad?” That one line sums up the second half of the film, making you wish that the filmmakers would have stuck to the realm of romcom and given you a desi Bridget instead. If Noor, the girl next door is lovable, then Noor, the journalist is a disaster, with no understanding of the basics of her profession, and responsibility that comes with it. How else can you explain a university topper, television journalist hoping to break the news of an organ harvesting racket run by a respected doctor with just one interview of the victim, which can be easily discredited for lack of evidence. And, which is exactly what happens even after the interview is aired on television. This is just one of the many loopholes the script has in its portrayal of a journalist, forget someone aspiring to pursue serious issue-based news. Also, very little time and mind is given to people and the twist in the story that changes Noor's life and perspective. As the film progresses, the script, not performances, becomes shallow until you reach the end, where the focus shifts back to lovable Noor you fell in love with before the interval.
Sinha has hit the bull's-eye as Noor. While the script offers her ample opportunities to go under- and over board, she sticks to realistic portrayal of Noor through the film. With amazing fineness, Sinha makes best of facial expressions—eye rolls, smirks, goofy grins, pouts—to convey Noor's various moods and thoughts. While all other characters have limited scope to leave an impact on the audience, Smita Tambe stands out for her moving performance as the victim of Noor's ambitions. Purab Kohli, as a photojournalist and Noor's boyfriend, fits the part of 'a smooth operator' well. Kanan Gill, despite most screen time after Sinha, fails to deliver a memorable performance for no fault of his. The script fails him, too. Raina, as a nonchalant father, is completely wasted. Only if the script would have allowed some more screen time to delve deeper into this quirky father-daughter relationship.
Noor is a well-intended film. But, that might not be enough for this shallow and frivolous film to leave a mark at the box office.
Director: Sunhil Sippy
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Manish Chaudhary, Purab Kohli, Kanan Gill, Shibani Dandekar