Sonakshi Sinha as Noor Image: T-Series
Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Purab Kohli, Kanan Gill, M K Raina
Written by: Saba imtiaz
Directed by: Sunhil Sippy
Produced by: T Series, Abudantia Entertainment
You will like this if you liked: Akira
I would pay: 200/500
Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor is a series of events in a reporter’s life that lead to her coming of age, both personally and professionally. Sounds good to hear, and maybe to read too, but in the film it is actually a messy pile of contradictions that don’t add up.
Noor Roy Chowdhury works as a reporter for a broadcast news agency and wants to do serious journalism but is often sent to do fluff stories, e.g. an interview with Sunny Leone. Braving rain and trains in Mumbai, she does the story and then grumbles to her editor that men will be holding body parts in their hands when they watch it demeaning Sunny Leone, a hard working professional who has striven and made her place in a sticky industry. From someone who wants so much to be taken seriously this is inexcusable.
She stumbles upon a human interest story when her maid Malti sees an interview of a doctor who does charitable work and tells Noor that this doctor had misled her brother Vishal into thinking he was being offered a job and, then, under the guise of a medical check-up, had harvested the young man’s kidney. She immediately tapes the brother and sister narrating their experiences and files a story. Meanwhile, she has fallen in love with an ex war reporter who has turned freelance broadcast journalist Ayan Bannerjee (Purab Kohli) and gives him her pen drive containing her story to watch. He steals it and releases it as his own. They break up, Malti and Vishal disappear and Noor is left inconsolable. For some strange reason, she blames this on her boss and not on Ayan.
Her BFFs Zaara (Shibani Dandekar) and Saad (Kanan Gill) figure she needs a change of scene and Saad takes her to his home in London where he owns a restaurant. When there, she learns that Vishal’s body has been found in The Deonar dumpyard. Suffering guilt pangs, she returns and vows to pursue the story to the end to avenge Malti and Vishal. This is where the film gets incredulous.
Despite having experienced the consequences of her first story — Malti and Vishal were abducted and Vishal was killed — she sets out to find other victims of the doctor. When she finally does, she tapes her interview, which presumably she will broadcast. She then pens a diary in which she highlights everything that is wrong with Mumbai, is not shown shooting any of the ills and releases the rant on social media, which goes viral finally giving her the status of a serious journalist.
Bollywood has, in recent times, released a spate of films with female protagonists with a mind of their own. Sonakshi as Noor not only has a mind, she also talks to herself. She calls herself a joker because she is constantly tripping or banging into things. Her performance is largely overacting, except in the scenes with Purab in which come across as sincere and vulnerable. MK Raina as her father is a wonderful foil to her Noor. The other actors, including Shibani, Kanan and the maid, suit their characters.
The trouble with Noor is that the journalistic world it sets up is very painfully a figment of someone’s imagination and far removed from reality. Adapted from Saba Imtiaz’s book Karachi You’re Killing Me, it doesn’t seem to compensate for the fact that Mumbai is a much more cosmopolitan city than Karachi with a very different transport system.
What goes for the film is its vibe, which is young and trendy. One just wishes director Sunhil Sippy had been more consistent.