‘Noor’ is prominent ad-filmmaker’ Sunhil Sippy’s second feature film, which arrives sixteen years after the director made his debut with ‘Snip!’ (2001), a film which was considered to be quite radical for its time. The film is an official adaptation of Pakistani author Saba Imtiaz’s book ‘Karachi, You Are Killing Me’. While the book was set in Karachi, ‘Noor’ tells the story of a young journalist based in Mumbai.
Noor Roy Choudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) is unhappy with the kind of opportunities the news agency she works for provides her with. As a journalist, she feels, her talent and potential has been massively underutilised. Apart from her professional woes, she is also dysphoric about not having a love life. The two people Noor shares her feelings are her best friends Saad (Kanan Gill) and Zara (Shibani Dandekar). Despite repeated pleadings, her boss Shekhar Das (Manish Chaudhari) does not let her cover stories that she wants to and asks her to report things she does not feel a tad excited about. A chance meeting with Ayaan (Purab Kohli), an ex-war journalist changes Noor life for the better and she feels she has finally found the kind of man she has been looking for. Meanwhile, she lays her hand on some information which once put in front of the world could turn out to be extremely eventful for her career.
A good part of the first half of the film focusses on Noor’s personal issues and shows the bond she shares with her friends and growing proximity with Ayaan. Peppered with good dialogues, many of these scenes do stand out in this hour. The film maintains a breezy pace throughout most of the first half. The characterisation does trouble you; you wonder as to why a university topper does not understand the nuances of journalism or does not seem to be too invested in her work. Even when her boss gives her a seemingly important task of interviewing a philanthropist, she does not put a lot of effort in putting together an elaborate feature. Despite all this, the first half serves up a few interesting plot points to make you look forward to catching up with the film post the interval. Unfortunately, the film hits a low curve as soon as second half commences and fails to redeem itself after that.
One looks forward to see how Noor makes up for a wrong committment by her which ends up affecting several lives. What follows next is a series of implausible events which makes you lose interest in the narrative. Noor feels guilty for something she has done and flies off to London to seek solace. That is actually not the least troubling thing for the viewer. There is more. She receives death threats for being responsible for an exposé on a powerful person but does not face any hurdle as she prepares a report on the same, shoots a video and uploads it on social media. It is difficult to take the film seriously as there is no detailing or thought involved behind executing the most crucial sequences in the film.
Noor comes across as a relatable character initially but you fail to empathise with her after a point. Sonakshi Sinha brings out the goofiness and insecurities of the character quite well though. Kanan Gill lends a certain amount of freshness to his character of Saad, Noor’s best friend. Shibani Dandekar barely gets any scope to perform. Purab Kohli looks charming and delivers an assured performance. Manish Chaudhari brings out the conflict of a man torn between ideology and circumstance effectively.
‘Noor’ is based on an interesting premise and could have worled both as a coming–of-age story and a film which questions the ethics of modern day journalism but it lands up nowhere.