Think of the new Sonakshi Sinha starrer Noor as the possible outcome if Bridget Jones’s Diary and Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3 got drunk, hooked up, and forgot about protection.
Sonakshi’s Noor is a young singleton; klutzy, booze-loving, and weight-obsessed, who hates her life and can’t stop moaning about it. She’s craving romance but she’s drawn to all the wrong men. Professionally she’s a journalist assigned to doing puff pieces around vacuous celebrities when what she really wants to do is ‘serious’ reporting.
Problem is, she wouldn’t know what serious reporting was if it slapped her in the face. And believe me, there are times in this film when you wish that someone would.
Sonakshi’s idea of conveying frustration is contorting her face in ways that would give Jim Carrey a complex. And don’t even get me started on what Noor’s idea of journalism is. When she lands a ‘real’ story involving an organ harvesting racket, she records precisely one interview, never bothers to so much as verify the interviewee’s claim or reach out to the accused for his version, and demands that her editor runs the story without delay. I can’t decide if she’s naïve, lazy, or plain stupid.
Wait, it gets worse! When it’s time to take responsibility for creating a big ol’ mess and for putting people’s lives in danger, how do you think Noor handles it? I’ll tell you how – she takes off to London to get her mind off her troubles. Talk about Rich People Problems!
And yet, to be fair, the film, directed by Sunhil Sippy, is more surefooted in its first half when it mostly concerns itself with matters of the heart. Buried somewhere beneath all the stream-of-consciousness voiceover and whippersnapper dialogue is a premise with potential: a young woman searching for love, somehow unable to see that it’s right under her nose. Adapted from the bestseller Karachi, You’re Killing Me! the film tries hard to straddle both its rom-com leanings and earnest coming-of-age drama. Alas, it only half succeeds.
Sonakshi pulls off the lighthearted bits with a ditzy sort of charm. It’s when the film takes a turn for the serious that she can’t keep up. Stand-up comic Kanan Gill in the role of Noor’s best friend Saad, imbues the character with a refreshing everyman quality.
Although handsomely mounted and evocatively shot, Noor lacks a sense of genuine urgency. The protagonist’s journey from flaky to fully reformed is never convincing, and in the end you’re left feeling that she could learn some empathy in addition to responsible reporting.
I’m going with two out of five.