T-Series and Abundantia Entertainment present “Noor.”
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, and Vikram Malhotra
Directed by: Sunhil Sippy
Written by: Saba Imtiaz, Althea Delmas-Kaushal, Shikhaa Sharma, Ishita Moitra & Sunhil Sippy
Music: R.D. Burman, Amaal Mallik & Badshah
Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Kanan Gill, Shibani Dandekar, Purab Kohli, Manish Chaudhari, M.K. Raina, Smita Tambe, Suchitra Pillai and others Sp.app.: Sunny Leone
Sometimes you know the box-office outcome is not going to be very encouraging, and yet, as in “Poorna” some weeks ago, is a winner. “Noor” is one of those films. Clearly, given the original source (a Pakistani novel) and Mumbai’s realities, the story has been well-adapted.
Sunhil Sippy, the fourth director in two years to have made his second film over a decade after the first (check Ram Madhvani, Rahul Bose, and Shivam Nair), is related to the G.P. Sippy clan and is into photography and ad films. Obviously, his sensibilities, as noticed with his debut feature “Snip!” (2000), are way different from that of a normal Hindi film director – Sippy was born and raised, even cinematically, in London.
He keeps the treatment, its camerawork (Keiko Nakahara) and the production design ultra-realistic, ditto the dialogues and the general atmosphere. Related to this, we must say that the background score (Naren Chandavarkar & Benedict Taylor) is strictly average. From the songs, Amaal Mallik’s music is functional, the Badshah track pathetic, ditto the R.D. Burman re-creation, and on-screen, they are not well-used either.
Earnest but frustrated journalist Noor (Sonakshi Sinha) is a bundle of negativity, disliking flighty assignments, not getting the right breaks, overweight, clumsy, unlucky in small things – the works. Her thick friends Sara (Shibani Dandekar) and Saad (Kanan Gill) are her pillars – true supportive friends who can be clinical and blunt with her. Noor encounters a photographer named Ayan (Purab Kohli) who impresses her, and soon they fall in love – something that has been there for long in her bucket-list.
Around that time, Noor, fed up of routine and shallow assignments meted out by boss Shekhar (Manish Chaudhury), is sent to interview Dr. Dilip Shinde, who does a lot of charity professionally. After she records the interview and plays it back at home, her domestic servant Malti (Smita Tambe) watches it and starts weeping and reveals that the doctor is a fraud, actually running an organ racket.
Noor assures her of safety (Malti’s brother has lost a kidney) if they both speak against Shinde, but Ayan pinches her story, and soon Malti’s brother is murdered, and the doctor exonerated.
After this, Noor must collect her wits and make sure everything is set right for Malti, and that Dr. Shinde is arrested. Determined, she uses a judicious mix of her brain and heart and achieves this with the help of the social media. And so, life changes.
Sonakshi Sinha is herself in less than five percent of her footage, in tiny but negligible slips here and there. For the rest, she is Noor, and her transformation from an initially immature to a sensible scribe is as real as it is gradual and even amusing. The realistic flavor of the script aids her a lot. Her banter with both her friends and her boss and those interactions with a slimy boyfriend and her maidservant are very well-done.
Sinha may take a bow for her best performance, ever!
Kanan Gill stands out as the rich restaurateur from London – sober, sincere and believable. Dandekar is alright and has nothing much to do. The rakish Kohli and Raina as her father are good, but the two actors who stand out, apart from Sinha and Gill, are Manish Chaudhuri as Noor’s boss and Smita Tambe as her maid. They are just perfect for their respective diametrically opposite roles in Noor’s life – of her employer and employee.
Sippy could have dramatized the film more, going that small inch towards uncle Ramesh “Sholay” Sippy’s and cousin Rohan’s (who also takes pride in blending realism into his commercial films) sensibilities and made the pace a bit faster, fitting in additional material of about 10 minutes’ length (and we do not mean masala songs, please!) and cutting off the same amount from the existing plod that is much worse in the first half.
If you like your movies real, even if slow, “Noor” is your film. T-Series will gain respectability with such sensible movies, shorn of both needless masala and pretensions to art.
It is a bonus that the story and movie are not vacuous and sends out some messages about leading life, about improving society as well as about the essence of journalism as a profession. In any case, watch this one ONLY for Sinha. She’s, in two words, completely lovable.