Notebook Movie Review Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Zaheer Iqbal, Pranutan Bahl, Mir Mohammed Mehroos, Mir Mohammed Zayan, Mozim Bhat
Director: Nitin Kakkar
What’s Good: The kids are charming, teachers are alluring, Kashmir is breathtaking – on the whole, you get a whole bundle of cuteness!
What’s Bad: The second half and the number of cinematic liberties the script takes – viewers will leave the theater with some logical unanswered questions.
Loo Break: In the second half, maybe!
Watch or Not?: The target audience of this film is very clear if you can digest lighthearted rom-coms – go for it!
The story is set over a course of two years from 2007 to 2008. It starts in the later year in which we see Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal), a failed army guy, getting a call from his uncle asking for a favour. He’s requested to handle a small school in a very remote area of Kashmir. Having 5-7 kids, the school was led by a different teacher, Firdaus (Pranutan Bahl) in 2007. Kabir finds Firdaus’ diary in the school and he starts going through it.
With every page, he discovers a new meaning to his life and falls in love with the writing of Firdaus. Struggling with the kids, he tries to be in their good books. He goes to search Pranutan but where is she a year later? Will they both meet or as said in the trailer, their love story will just be a part of a notebook? That’s how the story circles around the main plot of the film.
Notebook Movie Review: Script Analysis
I haven’t seen The Teacher’s Diary (Thai film on which Notebook is based), so let’s keep the comparison part aside. Darab Farooqi’s adapted screenplay surely captures the essence of Kashmir. The brilliance of Manoj Kumar Khatoi’s cinematography helps the rise and shine of the viewing experience. A commendable job by the original screenplay writers (Nithiwat Tharatorn, Sopana Chowwiwatkul, Thodsapon Thiptinnakorn, Supalerk Ningsanond) to narrate such a complex story in a very simple way. The writers also put in a small effort to kick in the nostalgia with Nokia 6600 and a mention of 30-minutes free Pizza delivery.
The non-linear way of narration, never for a frame, goes out of the sync. The movie dips deep in the second half where the cinematic liberties take over the driving seat. All the build-up for the second half, in a way, ends up with a half baked conclusion. When you are designing a love story without letting the leads meet, you need to make sure it’s an emotional explosion when they actually come together for the first time. That lacks here & as I said I don’t know how was the original one; if it was as same, that also would be a disappointment.
Notebook Movie Review: Star Performance
If there’s anything that looks more beautiful than Kashmir on-screen, it’s Pranutan Bahl. She’s convincing with her actions & enjoys a flourishing debut. Zaheer Iqbal, too, is self-assuring when it comes to emoting. With a sturdy physique, he still has a childlike innocence on his face and that works in his favour.
The real heroes of the film are the kids. Their track surprisingly gets more interesting as it instantly connects. Everyone is brilliant but Mir Mohammed Mehroos (Imran) and Mir Mohammed Zayan (Tariq) get the maximum mileage. Mozim Bhat’s Junaid is a very incomplete character and it could’ve been very better favouring the script.
Notebook Movie Review: Direction, Music
It’s a hat-trick of good films for Nitin Kakkar, after Filmistaan and Mitron. The best thing about this man is that he’s self-aware. He knows what kind of film is he making and stays in that zone throughout. His version of Kashmir is even more beautiful, thanks to the rich production value.
Vishal Mishra finally gets a fully-fledged presence behind the orchestra. Nai Lagda & Bhumro blend in very well with the narration avoiding the forced nature of songs. I wish Mohit Chauhan’s Safar had better lyrics because it had everything on par with excellence. Do I need to say anything about the background score? Because it’s by Julius Packiam, the man behind Tiger & Baaghi franchise, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan (estimate yourself).
Notebook Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Notebook is bring-your-heart-to-the-theater flick. It has nothing extraordinary & that’s the speciality of the film. It is an abundance of cuteness bundled with a tour package of unexplored Kashmir playing few beautiful songs in the background.
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Notebook releases on 29th March 2019.
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