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Noor Jahaan review: An age-old tale of love with a new twist

Release Date: 16 Feb 2018 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 24min

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

The film is not just another romantic drama. The treatment of the plot will surprise you.

A story of two passionate young lovers, Noor Jahaan is more than just a romantic drama. Despite not having a very original plot, the film will surprise you with its treatment, revealing various sides of a stark reality and the complexities of human emotions against the innocence and unrealistic dreams of the lovers.

The pace with which the film begins never flags. Indeed, it only accelerates with the progress of the plot and its numerous twists. The protagonists, being newcomers, do not deliver outstanding performances but add to the drama of the film with their fresh appearance.

The film begins as Jahaanara (Puja Cherry Roy), daughter of influential politician Amina Begum (Aparajita Adhya), falls in love with classmate Noor (Adrit Roy). Amina is aghast as Noor not only comes from a poor family, but is also the opposition party's representative in college.

Repeated threats don’t stop Jahaan from following her heart. She convinces the relatively meek Noor to elope with her after he is attacked by goons hired by her mother.

As the amateur souls leave the confines of their native village Nawab Gunj to escape from Amina Begum's clutches and land in an unknown town to realize their dreams, more evil forces await to entangle them, taking advantage of their vulnerability.

The shift of the elements from romance to a much more serious drama with the change of location from village to an urban landscape makes a lot of sense. Initially, the ideal situation of the lovers, who easily leave their families and birthplace behind and also manage to find a roof over their heads in the new town, seems unrealistic. However, with the second half, the helplessness of Noor and Jahaan gradually unfolds. Their desperation to sustain their small world exposes them to exploitation that only increases with time, involving villains with greater devils in them.

Most of the characters in the film are black or white, with few grey shades. Though Jahaan remains bold and simple throughout the film, the character of Noor undergoes a lot of change. In the beginning he is easily snubbed by the college union leaders, but in the second half he surrenders to reality and steps into the world of crime. His transformation seems apt.

The villains, on the other hand, are stereotypical. While Amina Begum is a powermonger who loves her position more than the happiness of her daughter, Altaf (Supriya Dutta) is a typical mafia gang leader for whom killing is nothing more than another option. Also, the police officer in charge is a typically shrewd character, busy fulfilling his self-interest.

The characters of the manipulative gay contractor and Noor and Jahaan’s benefactors vanish from the plot without proper closure. The benevolence of Haider (Kanchan Mullick), brother of Altaf, was perhaps required only to delay and dramatize the film's ending.

Puja Cherry Roy's act appears pretty natural when she is bold but drops a little when trying to convey despair or helplessness. Adrit Roy seems mostly honest as the film's hero.

Aparajita Adhya is a little over-the-top but she brings out the wickedness in her character. Supriya Dutta’s brief appearance as Altaf is poignant while Kanchan Mullick is brilliant as always as he portrays Haider, the only grey character in the film.

Director and scriptwriter Abhimanyu Mukherjee deserves credit for delivering a common plot in a fresh mould. Along with passionate love, Mukherjee has successfully woven moments of humour, vulnerability, disillusionment, desperation, revenge and tragedy in a single story to make the film a good watch even without gripping dialogues.

Cinematogapher Soumik Halder should also be praised. Without his skilful and crafty camerawork, it would not have been possible to retain the drama of the film in its true sense.

The background score by Savvy Gupta merely goes with the flow of the film and does not add to the plot. The three romantic numbers — 'Mon Bolechhe Tor Sathe Jabo' by Imran Khan and Dilshad Nahar Kona, the title track sung by Lagnajita Chakraborty and Raj Burman, and 'Sona Bondhu Re' rendered by Raj Burman and Prashmita Paul successfully bring out the gradual phases of Noor and Jahaan’s journey of love.

However, a few scenes from 'Sona Bondhu Re' seem to be copied straight out of 'Udi Udi' from Shaad Ali’s Saathiya (2002) and 'Neem Neem Shahed Shahed' from Yuva (2004) by Mani Ratnam.

Though Noor Jaahan is merely a modern attempt at the age-old romance trope, following the eternal theme of Tristan and Isolde, Laila and Majnu or Romeo and Juliet, it is definitely worth a watch for the emotional treatment and the diversity of twists the story offers.