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Ashdoc's movie review---Notebook


Movie Critic
Jul 19, 2011

Zaheer Iqbal plays Kabir Kaul , a young Kashmiri pandit who had been forced out of Kashmir valley in childhood by separatists . He had joined the Indian army on growing up , but a tragic incident involving the death of a young Kashmiri boy made him leave the army . His father used to run a school in Kashmir before being forced out , but both his house and his school were protected by his Kashmiri friend . Now the caretaker of his house is getting old and calls him back to take over the house and the school .

After reaching Kashmir Kabir realises that the school is located in the middle of a remote lake and can be reached only by boat . No facilities are available , but what is striking is the beauty of the place . He gathers students to again come to school and comes to know that previously they had been under the tutorship of a Kashmiri female teacher , Firdaus ( Pranutan Bahl ) . And he discovers the notebook left by Firdaus in which she had penned her thoughts . As he daily reads the notebook he comes to know the personality of Firdaus through the book and the thoughts penned in it . As he reads more he begins to fall in love with Firdaus without having met her even once .

Kabir soon manages to win the heart of his students by his affable nature . He reads in Firdaus' book that one of her students was forbidden by his father to study as he wanted him to become a gun toting separatist . Kabir meets his mother in the father's absence and convinces her to send the boy back to school , just as Firdaus had wanted . But his own performance as a teacher has not been up to the mark and Kashmir administration decides to remove him and he leaves to join a course of learning how to teach . But not before he has penned his own thoughts and his own experiences in the remaining pages of Firdaus' notebook . And admitted his love for her in writing .

Firdaus has been forced by her boyfriend to quit her job in the school , but since then her marriage plans with him have evaporated due to his cheating . Kashmir authorities give her the chance to replace Kabir as teacher in the school and she is only to happy to do so . On reaching the island school she sees the notebook and is shocked by the confession of love written by someone she has never met in her life . However as days pass by she reads the experiences penned by Kabir and his copying of all that she had done there and begins to like his personality . As she reads what he had done in the school and sees the affection that the school kids have for him , she begins to fall in love with Kabir .

The novel idea of two people loving each other only on reading each other's thoughts but without meeting each other even once was intriguing to say the least . And the beauty of the Kashmir photographed so well and with a decent musical score was making me fall in love with the film . So do the two lovers get to meet each other at all ? Watch the movie for the answers .

The harsh reality of militancy in Kashmir forms a distant backdrop for the film and comes to confrontation only in the climactic scene of the film . And gets solved in a manner that aficionados of poetic justice would approve . Acting is decent by everyone without being spectacular . The film is a poetic way of drilling a simple lesson into Kashmiri minds---just drop the gun .

Verdict---Super .

Four and a half stars out of five .
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