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Noor – Movie Review

I missed watching this one on the big screen. So I watched it on Amazon Primevideo this morning. Noor is adaption from the best-seller “Karachi, you’re killing me!”, a novel by Saba Imtiaz. I haven’t read the book, so I cannot tell how much of what was in the book was retained in its originality and what cinematic liberties were taken in the process of adapting it.

So Noor the film follows Noor the character (a journalist by profession) on her journey to that one big break in her career and how it comes to affect her life and lives of her near and dear ones. Noor’s assignments are typically “you didn’t know so-and-so guy who can do so-and-so thing existed in Mumbai” kind of stories. And interviewing Sunny Leone (she plays herself in a brief role). Now, any young, spirited journo who dreams to be the next Barkha would loathe to do these assignments and Noor is no different. So when this one story that’s a potential front-page controversy lands in her hands, she is both excited and concerned. Concerned, because people she cares about are put on the line here. How she deals with this forms the rest of the story.

Noor’s touted as a comedy-drama. At least that’s what the Wiki says. With Kanan Gill starring in it, you’d expect some good laughs from the man but he is wasted in a role that’s neither adequately funny nor adequately mature. Noor HAD to have a guy best friend and thus we have Kannan’s Saad. It shows that some effort has gone into beefing up the man’s character but not enough for the character to utilize the actor’s full comic potential. Shibani Dandekar is Zaara who plays a DJ (honestly, I couldn’t figure what she does in the movie or why she’s even there). Noor calls this trio “The Three Musketeers” but very little is shown as to how they became so close. Naturally, this “bond” between them comes across as superficial, and definitely not one that’s been around for a decade.

Sonakshi Sinha sports a nerdy look by the day when she has to work and by the night, she’s all Sonam Kapoor, clad in fashionable clothes, going on romantic escapades (read: dates) with photojournalist Ayan (Purab Kohli). Purab Kohli is highly underrated. In Noor too, he could have been so much more than a poorly-etched out character whose backstory we hear in bits and pieces but never get to understand in its totality, which makes our connect with the present-day Ayan fade several notches. The romance between Sonakshi and Ayan, too, comes off dull and boring. And because you are not invested in their romance, their breakup doesn’t have the desired impact (the reason for this breakup doesn’t impact you, either).

The film works in bits and pieces (first half, majorly) when it sticks to being the multiplex cinema with a lighthearted aura around it. The problem starts when it ventures into a serious mode, with Sonakshi tracking down a dangerous racket. You know this is where the film was headed all along, but even as the movie takes baby steps, slowly and carefully, in this direction, it falters and collapses. On paper, with good narration, this must have sounded good and I get it completely why they wanted to adapt the book into a film. The output, however, is disappointing. With only 30 minutes left to finish in the film, there is still no considerable progress in the main thread of the film – the racket. The antagonist (if he may be called that, even) Dr. Shinde’s character is barely even sketched out, forget how good, and this only worsens things for Noor. The main antagonist is in exactly 2.5 scenes in this movie.

Sonakshi does her best. You take notice of her acting abilities. Special mention must be made of Smita Tambe who plays Malathi, Noor’s maid who gets caught up as a victim in this foul controversy. Her scenes with Sonakshi in the second half are proof for her outstanding talent. I would love to see Smita Tambe in more challenging roles.

If you have nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING better to do on a boring holiday, Noor COULD be a “one-time” watch. I’d suggest you pass it. I’m going with 1.5 out of 5!

PS: All images are screen-grabs from Amazon Primevideo.

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