'A good destiny is when two people find each other without even looking', this thought was constantly running across my mind while I was watching Zaheer Iqbal- Pranutan Bahl's Notebook. Nitin Kakkar's latest directorial Notebook talks about finding love in the most unexpected places.
An Indian adaptation of the Thai film 'Teacher's Diary', Notebook revolves around Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal), an ex-army man who joins an isolated boat-school as a teacher in Kashmir. There he stumbles upon a notebook which the previous teacher Firdaus (Pranutan) used to pen down her emotions.
As Kabir begins reading the notebook, he finds himself slowly falling in love with Firdaus with her personal stories as a balm to heal his past. 'Woh bahut khoobsurat hai lekin maine usse kabhi dekha hi nahi...pyaar ho gaya hai mujhe usse, jisse main kabhi mila hi nahin.' Will Kabir & Firdaus ever meet in person? The rest of the film holds an answer to that.
With Notebook, Nitin Kakkar brings us a human story which is sweet, simple and full of warmth. Along with Kabir-Firdaus' love story, the filmmaker also weaves threads of other issues like Kashmiri Pandit exodus, extremist terrorism and lack of basic educational facilities into his narrative. However, there are punctures in Darab Farooqi, Payal Ashar and Sharib Hashmi's writing at places.
Having said that one must mention that the climax does leave a lasting impression.
Newbies Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan bring in a certain freshness to the film. While they still have a long way to go, it's evident that they have given their cent per cent to the roles in their debut films. The kids bring in a certain sense of innocence and cuteness to the plot.
Manoj Kumar Khatoi's camera work beautifully captures Kashmir in a poetic manner. Sachindra Vats's editing could have been a little tauter.
Notebook has some pleasant music by Vishal Mishra. While Bhumro is a foot-tapping number, Nai Lagda and Laila is some comfort food for the soul.
If you are a sucker for old-school romance, then Zaheer Iqbal-Pranutan's Notebook is just for you. I am going with 3 stars.