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Friday, 21 April 2017

Noor (Hindi) (2017)

A mic was thrust upon my face by a couple of rank rookies – much like Noor, in the movie – who were obviously asked to survey people who had watched the first day first show of Noor.  It was a first for me and I was caught off guard and all I could muster is, “Theek Thha”.  Eh? Your 15 seconds of fame and all you could do was say “Theek Thha”???

But then, I wasn’t lying.  I was off guard but not lying.  Noor was just that kind of movie that will make you say “OK, worth the ₹90 ticket for a morning show but I wouldn’t pay more than that”.  Just about “Theek”.  Nothing that should make you jump off your seat right away and run to the closest theatre.  Wait for the Televion release if you can.  Hop across if you have nothing better to do.

Noor is adapted from a book titled, “Karachi, You’re Killing Me” by a Pakistani writer – Saba Imtiaz. Sacrilege!!!! Where are the bhakts and the shiv sainiks? Not a big budget movie and so you couldn’t squeeze any money out of the poor director Sunhil Sippy who returns to Bollywood after 17 years.  The Sainiks would have thought, “Nanga nahayega kya nichodega kya? We will save our threats for the KJos of the world who have money”.

Noor Roy Chaudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) is an aspiring journalist with a self-deprecating view about herself.  She believes that she has turned more into a joker than a journo.  But on her 28th birthday, ala Bridget Jones, she swears to turn into a Tedhi Savitri (hip and happening) from a Seedhi Savitri (innocent / naïve).

Her life revolves around her best friends DJ Zara Patel (Shibani Dandekar) and restauranter Saad Sehgal (Kanan Gill), her single father (she lost her mom when she was 4) and her absentee maid Malti (Swati Tambe).  She wants to cover opinion shaping news but is relegated by her boss, Shekhar (Manish Chaudhari) to covering stories like a woman who doesn’t remove her helmet ever or a man who has sworn to walk on his hands for a year.  Yay!!! Super exciting life she leads.

Enter Ayananka Banerjee (Purab Kohli), an ace photographer who sweeps Noor off her feet in a matter of minutes.  And before you know it, we find out the reason for Malti’s continuous absentism – and you thought it was the regular MMS (Mumbai Maid Syndrome) eh? What was building up as a light, coming of age movie turns into a clash of values that eventually ends in a rant against Mumbai and eventually a super coincidental and happy ending.

Noor builds up reasonably well (and I am being gracious here) over about 30 minutes.  Sonakshi shows some flashes of acting as well. I confess, that I have always thought there was potential there but never a result. I was pleasantly surprised albeit for small while.  Purab is probably the strongest in terms of screen presences but sadly doesn’t have much screen time.

There is definitely a reason why Sunhil Sippy took a sabbatical for 17 years after his first movie Snip! (Why have I heard that name before? Still not able to place).  And that reason is quite clearly visible in Noor.  He is unable to hold the story together and adds some insipid dialogue to what could have been a decent story.  Kanan Gill as Saad was probably petrified because the only thought in his head would have been, “What if I am asked to do a pretentious review about this one”.

Noor has its moments though.  Some fun for about 30 minutes.  Some decent acting I must say – for just a bit though.  And a very meek attempt at a message to get Mumbai (and for that matter all of India) to wake up.  Sadly, it falls flat over the second half.  And will Sunhil please tell me why you couldn’t use “Old Monk” and kept replacing it with “Old Rum”???? 4 on 10.

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