Media, the fourth estate, covers almost everything under the sun, from Sunny Leones of the world to scams that rock our society. But rare does this watchdog and conscience keeper of the nation and the world turn the gaze inwards and even rarely movies turn the lens to its functioning. Noor is one such film that brings the ethics of journalism in focus.
Of course, to begin with, it unfolds like a fledgling scribe’s diary. How the 28- year-old hates her job that requires her to cover what she perceives are inconsequential soft beats, her weight issues and her loveless life are meant to add zing to her story. But the narrative really picks up when she accidentally stumbles upon an organ harvesting scam.
Indeed, for the student of journalism, the film puts out many posers in place. Is journalism about being in the right place at the right time or has to be backed both by ample research and humane approach? Are scams just another story, another rung on the ladder to success? No doubt Noor, the film, and not just the lead character played by Sonakshi Sinha, has the heart in the right place. But the problem is, it doesn’t quite beat with the same gusto and feeling as it ought to have.
Not only is the film rather too slow on the take up, it flounders between Noor the person and the universe of journalism she carries on her shoulders, never quite achieving the perfect balance. No wonder, it doesn’t stir, even her requiem for the city doesn’t work.
Despite the fact that not for a moment does the film turn melodramatic and nothing goes over the top. Its simplicity would have been commendable. Even the confrontation between Noor and her boss Shekhar (Manish Chaudhary), who refuses to entertain her breaking story, is not exactly a showdown. Actually, the film makes a point or two about what is breaking news and should it be broken at the cost of human lives at the centre of it all. This is a dilemma that television channels face each day. Or, perhaps not, judging by the breakneck speed with which they go breathless and reckless. The film may not follow in the same direction, no screeching journos here. Yet its logic is almost reductionist and simplicity simplistic.
Based on Pakistani author Saba Imtiaz's novel Karachi, You're Killing Me!, it transposes the thought and the line on to Mumbai a city we all know like so many others in this country is dying. Pray why does Noor require the example of Chennai floods to underline her point, when floods devastated Mumbai itself not too long ago?
Besides, much here is predictable. Noor’s liaison with Ayan (Purab Kohli), a war journalist for instance, throws no surprises. Purab, however, nails the part rather well and looks rakishly handsome too. In comparison the good guy Kanan Gill, the YouTube sensation while fitting the part, only ends up living to the axiom--nice guys finish second.
The film too fails to trump up and lacks the radiance that could have lit it up. A pity, for Sonakshi does pitch in her best. But even she can’t do much to redeem this watered down version of Page 3. Clearly both spark and bite go for a toss.