A film with a beautiful heart but lacking in craft.

Film Noor is based on a book called Karachi – You’re Killing me, written by a young Pakistani girl called Saba Imtiaz.

Noor is a girl who at the outset, to us, looks fine, but the narrative tells us that something is amiss in her life. There is a void, both in her personal and professional life. Is it because of a city that gives immense stress to its inhabitants, or its just Noor’s own poor destiny and personality that does not attract anything good. Or it could be a bit of both.

Director Sunhil Sippy who has been an ad filmmaker rolls out the film beautifully. It’s good for the eyes. Art direction is beautiful and contemporary. Cinematographer Keiko Nakahara takes us in the dingy lanes of Mumbai, dirty secrets, hidden wounds and pigeonholes inhabited by millions of less important mortals. The film starts to resemble the book which has been loosely translated into Mumbai – You’re killing me.

On the other hand there is Noor, a girl who has been blessed with everything material but is unhappy. She plans to change the world, do something worthwhile, make a life out of her living, but her editor sends her to interview frivolous people. Does a city like that deserve to have people like Noor actively changing it ? May be it does. Soon the lighted hearted story takes a serious turn as we find out that there is an organ harvesting racket flourishing in the city that Noor must expose. Here the narrative coupled with immature direction starts to lose grip.

Single, heavy and an accident prone woman has been brought to life on screen in a famous English film called Bridget Jones Diary.

Renee Zellweger in the lead did a marvelous job in it and did make for great entertainment. In Noor while we are being convinced that she is miserable, we fail to understand, why is she ? She got a spacious house in Mumbai, a loving Dad and truly caring friends. A difficult equation with the Boss ? Well its half the world’s problem and a perennially out of geyser could have been fixed.

What I liked best about Noor is how she looked. Sweet and smart. You could take a tip or two from the film’s stylist on casual dressing. Also you could feel the predicament of every city girl trying to make something out of her time and life. She does create magic in a few scenes and looks seriously adorable in them. But on the whole the narrative is so fickle and confusing that it’s difficult to keep pace with the changing mood of the film. Often it becomes the story of Mumbai, then Noor and sometimes Malti, the caretaker in Noor’s house. Malti played by Smita Tambe deserves a special mention with a powerful performance.

Standup comedian Kannan Gill makes his big screen debut and he does provide the film it’s best light moments. He is a complete natural and it was such a relief.

A problem area was the way broadcast media was showcased in the film. It needed to be authentic as it constituted the core theme but sting operations, expose and the finicky news editors’ portrayal was a bit faulty. Having been in News channels for 13 years, I thought, it could be anything but this.  

While Noor was right in the middle of a deep crisis she takes a break and flies to London with her friend Saad and what she had ready there was an evening dress to wear to a restaurant. Filmmakers have moved to a different era in filmmaking so such fancies be best avoided.

It’s a film with a beautiful heart and some heart wrenching scenes but fails to be a well cooked meal.

2.5 Stars