Notebook: A Rhythmic Love Story


Umma Maimuna Alam


When we talk about romantic movies of Bollywood, movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Maine Pyaar Kiya pop up. Basically, a couple who are madly in love with each other without any sort of emotional development, a villain who lives his life just to ruin the couple, and lastly, a few unnecessary duet love songs that feature dancing in exotic places—is what a typical love story looks like in Bollywood. But today, I want to review a romance drama named Notebook, released in 2019. No, it’s not the Hindi version of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Although it is an adaption remake of a Thai movie named The Teacher’s Diary (2014), there were many changes made within the characters and plots. 

Notebook is a Nitin Kakkar directorial, starring Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan Bahl as main leads. The story is about an ex-soldier who left the army after an horrific event. He is not like a typical hero and did not have a perfect life. In fact, from the very beginning of the movie, his character is portrayed as one of a mediocre guy in his 30s, living a shambolic life. This imparts a sense of association with the protagonist. He then applies as a teacher in a remote area, at his father’s established school. The cinematography is outstanding, as his journey exhibited some breathtaking shots across India. The primary shooting was done in Kashmir, and the way the beauty of Kashmir is captured in the movie is truly impressive. The female protagonist is an ex-teacher of the same school and left her diary, which the guy finds out later on.

This movie defies conventional love-at-first-sight concept, and also crushes stereotypes regarding the love stories where the couples are too mushy. Here, the male protagonist falls in love with the soul of the female protagonist through her words. And those of you who journal or love reading, would know how connected one can feel with another through true words of the soul. The movie develops the characters powerfully, as the guy develops his own personality by learning momentous life lessons through the girl’s writings, which establishes a sense of respect. The nostalgia makes him fall in love with the writer, and also with his own life. 

Apart from the main plot, several interesting subplots are presented. Although unusual, these held a significant role in making the audience understand the life of Kashmiris. One of the enjoyable parts lies with the children of the school. Humorous, witty, and adorable young spirits of the children make the movie even more wholesome. Although the plot twist of the girl marrying her boyfriend might make viewers feel sorrowful for the guy, somehow they find their way to each other. 

The ending is quite subtle with a sense of ambivalence that imparts abstractions of letting go, true affection, and mutual admiration. The female character is bold, potent, and praiseworthy. The male character did not exhibit any toxic masculinity, unlike the mainstream male leads of Bollywood movies. Rather, he depicts times of weakness, feelings of being lost, the pain of being heartbroken, and an array of other emotions that the actor impressively portrays.

Notebook did not do well at the box office. It was criticised because of its visible deviation from the usual mirch masala of the orthodox Bollywood dramas. Although its songs are beautiful, there were no item songs or pretentious, baroque vibes of the usual Bollywood love stories. Consequently, it did not receive popularity either. The cast of the movie are amazing actors, yet the main leads were left unrecognised despite being so natural at work. Nevertheless, this movie conveyed a lot of perceptive ideas. 

The poetic dialogues, coupled with the actor’s attachment towards the kids and his fondness towards the actress, will fill your heart with warmth. It’s a movie that you can enjoy thoroughly, because it starkly captures the true essence of love. In short, from my point of view, it is a highly recommended movie. Despite my dislike for Bollywood love stories, I couldn’t help rewatching Notebook, because of its mesmerizing cinematography and acting. If you want a fine-drawn movie devoid of melodrama, want to relax, and enjoy the growth of a story, then this is the perfect movie to watch.

 


Being INFJ, Maimuna is constantly curious and chasing the thrill of living. Reach out [email protected] for any thoughts to share.

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