- Movie Name:Notebook
- Critics Rating: 2.5 / 5
- Release Date: 29-03-2019
- Director: Nitin Kakkar
- Genre: Romance-Drama
In a matter of a year, Bollywood has come up with not one but two modern renditions of age-old love story Laila Majnu. Salman Khan’s production Notebook is the second of them. While Sajid Ali’s Laila Majnu relied vehemently on the mystical side of love, Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan Bahl’s Notebook touched on the happier notes. Notebook is an easy-breezy watch, which doesn’t require your heavy attention to get a hang of what’s going on. Though not a perfect film, this Nitin Kakkar directorial sails to the shore having lost the way often during it’s course.
Star-crossed lovers Kabir and Firdaus drift apart from each other during the infamous Kashmiri Pandits exodus, only to meet (apparently) years later at an isolated primary school in Wular. Kabir finds Firdaus’ diary and falls in love with her without knowing she’s his long-lost childhood sweetheart. Firdaus battles with her troubled relationship with boyfriend Junaid, who is controlling and often asks her to quit her job at Wular Public School to marry him. While she’s away from the school, the children get attached to Kabir. Firdaus finds a surprise for herself when she returns after a sabbatical of a year.
Notebook is an easy-watch. You don’t require heavy dose of attention and brain work to understand what’s going on in the film. It’s as straight as a line, and heads linearly towards a happy ending. The first half of the film is relatively interesting. You will find yourself lingering into the backdrop of Kashmir’s snow-clad mountains, the Wular lake and the wooden houses with sloped roofs. The beauty of Kashmir is captured in its rawness and that’s winning point of the cinematographer Manoj Kumar Khatoi. The school where Kabir and Firdaus teach is shabby, creeky and looks as ramshackle as it was told to be.
Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan Bahl have potentials as the newcomers. They may not be perfect but are not cringe-worthy as some under-prepared newcomers tend to be. Especially Pranutan, she easily slips into the skin of an orphaned Kashmiri girl who still believes in the virtue of right and wrong. Her wardrobe and makeup were not over-the-top to make it look like artificial. In those red-tinted cheeks, Pranutan was a delightful watch.
Zaheer Iqbal was promising. He delivered his lines perfectly. His Kashmiri dialect was on-point and didn’t seem made-up.
However, the screenplay of the film was lazy, and it didn’t invest in any one thing at particular. The film raised some serious issues like Kashmiri Pandit Exodus and the brainwashing of young Kashmiri lads into becoming militants. But it brushed past these subjects without putting a conclusion to it or telling in detail about them. These parts could’ve been easily omitted from the film, focussing only on Firdaus and Kabir’s love story.
Where there is humour, you cannot decide whether to laugh or cry. It is so half-cooked that you will wonder how these particular elements made it to the film.
All in all, Notebook is a simple movie which didn’t do much heavy lifting. You can watch it for the sake of Kashmir’s breathless beauty and the never-ageing concept of Laila Majnu love stories.