Notebook Movie Review 2019: Slow Scribbles

Notebook Movie Review 2019: Slow Scribbles

Movie Name
Nitin Kakkar
01 hours 53 minutes

Notebook Review

The Thai film Teacher's Diary is transplanted in the picturesque valley of Kashmir.

Kashmiri Pandit and ex-army man Kabir whose family had to flee their homeland, returns to teach in a remote school plonked in a lake. He stumbles upon a notebook left behind by Firdaus, the previous teacher who was adored by the kids. Leafing through the pages, it's almost as if Firdaus has become his guide and companion in that isolated place with no water, no electricity. When Firdaus returns to school, she reads what he's scribbled in her book. And voila, the violins play in the background as Kabir and Firdaus fall in love without ever having seen each other.

With a small bunch of really cute kids that capture the innocence of childhood in a troubled valley, if director Nitin Kakkad had built on this implausible love story, perhaps a watchable romance would have emerged. But it's a mess with sub-plots galore, none of them done with any sort of depth.

A militant father wants his son out of school and into taking up arms. Education versus militancy. A displaced Kashmiri Pandit family.Firdaus wearing the hijab in childhood, discarding it as a grown up, doing pretty much what she likes and still pensively pining for freedom like a tragedy queen. A boyfriend who cheats, a girlfriend who cheats. An army officer who has emotional baggage that he wants to dump. Low funds and few qualified teachers for schools in Kashmir. Dialogues that refer to mausam aur mahaul, the only two topics prevalent there, and a life full of karz and farz.With so many fleeting asides, Mohammed Darab Farooqi's writing is patchy, unable to hold them all together in a cohesive screenplay.

The result is that a valley so potent with human drama doesn't reach out and receive your empathy. The narration moves at the leisurely pace of a shikara, with jerks in logic and going off track that don't make it a smooth ride. With energy-less music accompanying it, by the time Firdaus and Kabir do meet and blush, it doesn't matter anymore. And by the way, every time a character doesn't want to be clearly identified as Hindu or Muslim, Hindi cinema's safe name for him is Kabir. One wonders why Kakkad ventured into the Kashmiri Pandit exodus if he wanted to play neutral and not really tread that territory.

Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.

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  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

Topped with Zaheer Iqbal being rough at the edges and Pranutan Bahl’s role requiring her to look unanimated for most of the time, this Notebook makes insipid reading and gets a 2* rating.


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