Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal) heads to his hometown for a brief visit, only to wind up taking a job at his late father’s school. The school itself is in disrepair and located in an extremely remote village. With no formal training and an aloof personality, Kabir has a tough time connecting with his precocious students. However, that all changes when he finds a notebook belonging to the previous teacher Firdaus (Pranutan Bahl). What follows is a beautiful love story about two ordinary people who unexpectedly find one another.
Notebook is visually stunning, features talented, fresh faces and has all of the beauty and quirks that I have come to love and appreciate Bollywood films for. Directed by Nitin Kakkar, Notebook definitely makes the cut for my upcoming June Favorites list.
Kabir seems to lead a very lonely and unfulfilling life. He’s still recovering from trauma related to his stint in the army as well as some painful childhood memories. As he begins to read what is essentially Firdaus’ diary, he quickly becomes inspired by her positivity, bravery, and sincere love for the young students. Kabir begins to apply her unconventional approach in the classroom and the results are very successful. It doesn’t take long before he falls in love with not only his students, but Firdaus herself.
Fridaus’ story is told simultaneously and we see her life now that she has been transferred to a teaching position at another school. All of the decisions she makes ultimately lead her back to her beloved school, its headstrong students and of course Kabir.
I thought that the story itself was interesting and well told. Even if the story hadn’t been so rich, the cinematography would have certainly made up for it. Words just don’t do Kashmir justice. I couldn’t help but admire the artistry and time that went in to capturing such beautiful shots. The music also complements the film perfectly. I really liked how it enveloped the characters and helped tell the story.
Iqbal and Bahl aren’t onscreen together very much, which is a bummer, but the brief moments they share are very convincing. Both of them give honest performances and help keep the film’s momentum going.
If I had a critique it would probably be in regards to the constantly shifting tone. There are a few scenes that feel a little out of place, as if they came out of nowhere. These scenes could have potentially derailed everything, however, the story always seems to recover and get back on track.
If you enjoy understated romances and don’t mind reading subtitles, I recommend you check it out! Notebook is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Do you have any favorite Bollywood films? Any you recommend I see? Please let me know in the comments down below!