Director: Nitin Kakkar
Starring: Zaheer Iqbal, Pranutan Bahl
Written by: Mohd. Darab Farooqi
NOTEBOOK is a story of a bond that develops between two lonely teachers without meeting one another. The film is an official remake of the 2014 Thai film TEACHER’S DIARY. Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal) is based in Jammu and has quit the army because of a traumatic incident. His acquaintance recommends to him that he should join this school that is being run by his father in Wular, which is located in a remote town and the school is built on a houseboat. The school’s only teacher was Firdous (Pranutan Bahl), who quit the school a while ago and hence the school was left with no teacher. Kabir agrees to join the school, there are only a handful of students and Kabir starts teaching them. In the drawer, in the teacher’s desk, Kabir finds a notebook written by Firdous. In that notebook, Firdous had written thoughts, fears, insecurities, strengths etc. while she was teaching in Wular. Kabir reads her diary and not only does it motivate him, but also falls for her. The students also spoke highly of her and Kabir figured she must be a nice and a kind hearted person as well. One day, the school is hit by a storm during which the Notebook falls in the water. Kabir tries to save the book but he fails to. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The first half of the film is great. But the film just drops a little in the second half. The initial idea of the film is really good but it faulters a little in the execution. The second half get a little boring and a little predictable. The introduction part is really engaging. The school in the middle of the waterbody seems realistic and they’ve done a great job.
The major issue with the film is the climax. The audiences have invested in the lead pair from the start and they eventually only meet in the last ten minutes of the film which is not ideal in today’s day and age. A lack of clear cut conflict is also a major fault with the film as well.
Technically, the film is good. Cinematography by Manoj Kumar Khatoi is one of the best works we have seen this year. He’s captured Kashmir in all its glory beautifully. Editing is Shachindra Vats is decent, could have been a little better in the second half. The script seems a bit weak and could have been better. The production design is great. The songs in the film are okay but Bhumro Bhumro stands out.
Performances from the actors were good and was one of the positives for the film. Both the debutants were great. Zaheer Iqbal is sincere and does a good job. Pranutan Bahl is fine and has a fantastic screen presence. Both the debutants have given a great performance and can make their mark in the industry. The kid actors are the highlight of the film. The rest of the cast offer good support.
Director Nitin Kakkar does a fair job. He gets some top notch natural acting from the cast of the film especially from the local kids from Kashmir.
At the box-office
The film has taken a slow start and should pick up with good word of mouth.