In these modern times of instant romance and quicker breakups, Tinder hookups, volatile relationships, and disillusionment with the ways of the heart, a film like Notebook comes along like a breath of fresh air. It’s old-school ethos, so much at odds with the world we live in, are precisely what serve as a timely reminder of how true love can triumphant all obstacles and make us better versions of our selves, provided we believe it’s worth sticking our necks out for.
The purity of these emotions is justifiably juxtaposed against the exquisite beauty of Kashmir (captured in all its Glory by DOP Manoj Kumar Khatoi), a land struggling as much with the tranquility of its past and turmoil of its present as the meaning of love strives to hold on to the magic of a bygone era against the harsh reality of changing times.
Kudos to Director Nitin Kakkar for striking a fine balance both with the depiction of romance (evoking nostalgia without ever slipping into unbelievable territory) and the issues plaguing Kashmir (showing both sides of the coin with honestly and subtlety, never taking sides, never shoving agendas in our face).
It also helps that Kakkar is aided by a heartfelt background score, some of the best original music in recent memory for a Hindi film, a passionate screenplay courtesy Sharib Hashmi and Payal Ashar’s dialogues, which leave a lasting impression. On top of that he’s blessed with two talented debutants who bring his vision to screen with conviction to the story and devotion to their characters. Both Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan Bahl have alluring screen presence, make extremely confident debuts, and look like great finds for Hindi cinema. On, and let’s not forget those bunch of adorable kids who melt your heart with their charm and cuteness.
I’m neither a fan of romantic films nor have many of them touched me on a level that several revered film connoisseurs I know of have experienced. So, for a love story to come along in this day and age, and have this sort of impact on my senses, it’s got to be really special, at least to the heart and mind of this humble film reviewer.
Of course the film has some flaws, but the way it captures romance, in all its purity, innocence, and beauty, is worth getting lost in. The climax in particular is a fine example of this, leaving you on a high as you walk out of the theater. We’ve had enough of realistic love stories in the recent past. After eons, go and celebrate the magic of true love on the big screen for a change.
Movified Rating: 4/5