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Noor Says So Much Without Seeming To Say Anything: Movie Review



Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Purab Kohli, Kannan Gill, M K Raina, Smita Tambe

Directed by: Suhnil Sippy

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Honestly, the conscience has become  a huge liability in these times. As  a journalist with a good three decades  of experience I still have problem deciding where to draw the line between professionalism and ethics.

Though I couldn’t relate to her endless boozing and snoozing, Noor Roy Choudhary as played by  Sonakshi Sinha , is someone I’ve known in passing.And that’s I would keep her if I met her. At a safe distance.

Noor is not one  of the best films on journalistic ethics. It doesn’t do to the contemporaryMumbai media world what the Paul Newman-Sally Field  starrer Absence Of Malice did  30 years ago . It pricks at the conscience in a rather undemanding way. Noor takes  sly and slender satirical swipes at sensationalism in journalism , more delectable for its many jibes than the actual prick at the conscience.

The prick, when it comes, is not as solidly impact-filled as it should be. But by then, Noorhas established her credentials for being an aimless adrift television journalist looking for a sense of purpose. That ‘purpose’ kind of falls into her lap with a gentle thud. Of course Noormesses it up.This is her prized USP, the ability to be absolutely and  candidly  self-serving without being apologetic  about.She messes up and moves on.

Director Suhnil Sippy whose last feature film, the snappy and slick Snip came 17 years ago , doesn’t skip a beat. He allows his vision to meander with Noor’s sense of aimlessness, trailing her through endless drinking binges and a never-ending quota of bacchanalia with her two friends Saad(Kannan Gill) and Zara(Shibani Dandekar).

While Kannan Gill definitely needs elocution classes, Dandekar is delightfully saucy specially in the  scene where she walks in  to a  bar to slap a man who has betrayed her best friend. I wanted to see more of her. More of Noor’s editor’s no-nonsense socialite wife played by Suchitra Pillai. And yes , more of Noor’s boss played by the ever-excellentManish Choudhary. The last time I saw a female journalist share such tactile vibes with  her boss it was in Rajkumar Gupta’s No One Killed Jessica.

Sonakshi Sinha gamely plunges into the mediaperson’s home-‘groan’ zone, mining into Noor’s insecurities and inadequacies to come up with a character who is as real as any neo-realistic  urban character , like, say Alia Bhatt in Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi. Like Alia,Sonakshi is not afraid to address her character’s uncertainties about her body and sexual activities(in one snatch of a voiceover she tells us that Noor’s bottom is so ample that the postal department is contemplating assigning it a pin code, heehee).

This  is  a coming-of-age yarn that joyfully gets into the head and bed of its heroine, deconstructs the hoary Hindi Film Heroine, highlighting her appetites, culinary or otherwise, in ways that were considered inappropriate until a decade ago .Whatever Noor does , she does with an unabashed  ebullience where she can and often does, trip and fall on her nose.

And when Noor falls in love she really FALLS. The segment showing her growing attraction to a rakish photojournalist (played with splendid suaveness by Purab Kohli) is brief and brilliant. The fit of heated passion subsides quickly. This is one of the film’s prominent attributes . It rakes up issues and then quickly moves to something else . Perhaps this mood swing in the narrative replicates the film’s protagonist’s restless energy which is killing her professional skills while destroying her personal relationships.

Sonakshi Sinha kills it, even as her character claims Mumbai is killing her. Her monologue on the smog, smut, corruption and heartbreak of Mumbai is indeed a highlight. Sonakshithrows in her weight with her character’s fight to float above the metropolis’ rising sewage level of  moral turpitude.

The flow of conversational  energy  is the key to the narrative’s efficacy. Ishita Moitra’sdialogues add  ample zest warmth and humour to Saba Imtiaz’s skimpy novel about thesocio-political awakening of  an aimless reporter. In director Sunhil Sippy’s hands Noor is  a lot more. It’s about the media and sensationalism, the city and the singelgirl. It’s about Noorand her friends and her father(played by veteran M K Raina, delightful) and her cat, and her conscience. Sunhil Sippy packs it all in , leaving enough breathing space for the  characters to acquire a life  of their own.



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