Critic’s Rating: 3.0/5
Notebook Story: Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal) stumbles upon the notebook where Firdous (Pranutan Bahl) has penned her most intimate thoughts. He falls in love without ever having known or met her.
Notebook Review: You can find love in the most unexpected places and situations. That’s what happens to Kabir when he takes up the job to teach at a remote house-boat school in Kashmir. He discovers a notebook that the previous teacher, Firdous used as her diary and he falls in love with her emotions and passions. Featuring a truly innovative concept, Notebook is a film for die-hard romantics. But even devout fans of the genre will agree that the film doesn’t really do enough with its basic premise. The one-line narrative is interesting, but the screenplay fails to do anything more.
An adaptation of the Thai drama ‘The Teacher’s Diary’ (2014), Notebook makes good use of the talents of its newcomers Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan Bahl. The freshness of the lead pair and the exotic Kashmiri setting add visual appeal to the movie. The unusual story of falling in love with someone you’ve never met holds intrigue for most part of the run time, too. But the movie takes a little too much time to set things up. The young couple don’t meet until the climactic portions of the film and once the high-drama kicks in it feels too little, too late. The writing by Darab Farooqi, Payal Ashar and Sharib Hashmi manages to sneak in social themes around the Kashmiri youth, and that’s a definite positive. But, neither the screenplay nor the dialogues are able to heighten the drama to requisite levels.
The highlights of ‘Notebook’ are the cinematography by Manoj Kumar Khatoi and the performances by Zaheer and Pranutan. Between the mesmerising visuals of Kashmir and an ethereal lake, are the two newcomers, who give their heart and soul to the characters. The have little screen time together, so their chemistry isn’t really able to make any impact, but both actors show promise. Director Nitin Kakkar, who’s made ‘Filmistaan’ and ‘Mitron’ in the past, isn’t able to flesh out the complete potential of the story at hand. The Kashmiri music by composer Vishal Mishra is pleasing but the songs haven’t been used to the required effect.
‘Notebook’ is an easy watch where you can appreciate the humour, drama and romance. But the film leaves you wanting for more. Perhaps with more creativity in writing, this young romantic saga could have achieved more.