The manic pixie dream girl has a whiny sister. I like to call her the uppity scatterbrained pinterest princess. Unlike the manic pixie, this one is a goofy grouch blaming the world for the inadequacies of her life while harbouring grand notions about her own importance in it on the strength of aspirational quotes and a set of friends purely existing for her benefit and rescue.
In Noor, she finds an embodiment in Sonakshi Sinha whose energetic vibe and easy likeability nourish the film’s fluffy bits.
The actress has a good voice, one that you get to hear abundantly through the course of Sunhil Sippy’s adaptation of Saba Imtiaz’s Karachi, You’re Killing Me! But when her soliloquy shifts from romantic crisis to a soppy, sanctimonious diatribe against Mumbai, Noor is completely out of its depth.
The film starts out like a typical, well-shot rom-com with a sprightly voice-over and natty visuals of a cluttered lifestyle, where every single imperfection is systematically assigned its place in the frame.
Sporting hipster glasses and a wardrobe of boho-chic outfits, Noor rolls her eyes at her father’s preferential treatment of the house cat, a faulty geyser, an AWOL domestic help, her weight gain and lowly Twitter following before storming to work. She’s a journalist, you see, and not a very good one at that.
Noor’s irritation only grows when her boss (Manish Chaudhary) in a local news-broadcasting agency orders her to interview Sunny Leone at a suburban studio when she would rather investigate a whistleblowing piece.
“I am a college topper,” she barks indignantly at her editor whose tolerance for Noor’s insubordination is so far-fetched, the chances of seeing a unicorn would be more believable.
Continuing her romedy pursuits, the half-hearted Bridget Jones immediately falls for a smooth talking photographer (Purab Kohli) while BFF (Kanan Gill) cannot quite decide how he feels about it.
In the midst of munching on Haldiram product placements and a demure depiction of an affair where a couple sleeps together but never locks lips, Noor’s professional ambition finally catches up with her.
She unearths an organ harvesting scam, one that could provide her respite from frivolous journalism. But Sippy treats the magnitude of the crime and ethical practices around its coverage in such a muddled manner; it dumbs down Noor — both the film and its titular heroine irrecoverably.
What’s even more convoluted is Noor’s unwillingness to face the repercussions or atone for her actions. By sending her off to holiday in picturesque England for a breather, Sippy practically ensures none of her latter attempts to take the moral high ground be taken seriously.
Nowhere resembling the frothy premise it promised to be, Noor’s initial display of quirk is just a ploy to endear the audience, one that is conveniently forgotten for the sake of cloying emotionality and absurd symbolism where accepting a Facebook request is indicative of reconciliation.
So long it’s true to its confection roots, Noor works, thanks to the attractive bonhomie Gill and Kohli’s real guy appeal generates around Sonakshi’s star. But when it engages in shallow activism for the heck of it, it rambles and drags.