There is something very endearing about Noor. Though I did wish it delved deeper into the serious issue of organ trafficking and not just skirted around it. That said, director Sunhil Sippy, who co-wrote and directed the black comedy Snip! back in 2000, does craft this coming-of-age story with heart. As a romantic comedy, it works up a charm!
Sippy’s direction is refreshingly no-frills, devoid of excessive drama and layered with warm slices of reality. Based on Saba Imtiaz’s book Karachi, You’re Killing Me!, the narrative has been adapted to make it Mumbai specific. The charm and essence of a single girl in the city of dreams is captured with a candid eye between five co-writers. Ishita Moitra Udhwani pens the spiffy dialogue while Althea Delmas-Kaushal, Shikhaa Sharma, Sunhil Sippy and Saba Imtiaz write the spirited screenplay. Keiko Nakahara makes their job easy with stunning cinematography, maintaining a languid yet sharp pace; letting his characters blend into the local setting as they go through their motions – be it in Mumbai or London. Amaal Malik’s songs breezily flow with the narrative: funky Uff Yeh Noor, groovy Gulabi 2.0, joyful Jise Kehte Pyaar Hai and serene Hai Zaroori.
Sonakshi Sinha as Noor makes her quirky character relatable with the right energy and rhythm. Unhappy about her love life and stuck in an uneventful job, Noor’s creative energies are invested in work far away from her ambitions in reality. Her boss Shekhar Das (Manish Chaudhary) is happy leading a TV channel which is tailored for the masses. She lives with her retired father who (hilariously) appears to bestow all his attention on their lazy cat. She is irritable and angry with the world. Close friends Zara (Shibani Dandekar) and Saad (Kannan Gill) hang around, hoping she will see light of day.
Enter hot guy Ayan Bannerjee (Purab Kohli) just as she stumbles upon her dream and a sensational story is about to realise. Alas, things go horribly wrong before they go right again. Not perfect by any standards, Noor is goofy and negative despite her talent and confidence. She seems to have unrealistic expectations, expecting coverage after one feeble quote from her maid. I guess, going by media’s standards today that is not too far away from the truth. Predictably, she also judges Sunny Leone quite harshly. Yet all is not lost. Her heart is in the right place. Plus she has a unique sense of humour. “Mera dost mujhe ‘Rum’ta jogi bulaata hai”, she guffaws trying to impress Ayan while on a date. She is also brave enough to make amends.
Noor’s interactions with the key people in her life are captured with detailed care. Her chats with her father are well done, routinely dull most times, warm in vital moments and unintentionally humorous in some. Especially when he follows her to the maid’s home and when she has an off-hand conversation with him about his stable and boring job. The bond she shared with her maid Malti (Smita Tambe) is touching; note the scene where she remorsefully breaks down and hugs her. Noor’s love-hate relationship with her boss is apt and evolves beautifully towards the end of the movie. As does her relationship with her friend-zoned buddy. The last scene where they finally get together was hilarious.
A special mention for the casting team Sharon Flynn and Omkar Ketkar who have done a fantastic job of picking the perfect cast. Tambe is excellent as the maid who is a mirror of conscience. Kohli takes to his arm candy status instinctively despite being Noor’s main cause of distress. Gill makes a low key but impressive debut. I would liked more of him in the movie. Chaudhary is quietly and aptly understated, giving Sinha the space to shine. Dandekar is the only one short-changed with a tiny presence.
Sonakshi Sinha is to Noor like water is to fish. It is hard to imagine anyone else in the role. She has the natural ability to balance the peripherals with the consequential. After Lootera, this is her spotlight moment in the performing arena. Whether it is her love for rum, frustration to lack of sex, the thirst for success or sorrow for her maid, she fully owns Noor with delicious vengeance.
There is nothing spectacular about Noor yet it does mundane pretty damn well. It is definitely worth a watch… or two.
cinemaspotter rating: 3.5 out of 5