Noor and the Murder of the Millennial


Noor and the Murder of the Millennial

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

If you’re looking for a film that champions a cause, look no further than Noor. No Bollywood film in the past has fought so valiantly for the cause of its subject as effectively as Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor fights for the plight of millennials, arguably the most misunderstood species of this generation.

Noor is a film (and a woman) on a mission. The mission is a fight against the reductive millennial stereotype of “lazy and entitled” and director Sunhil Sippy digs deep. (Much like Sonakshi Sinha does while investigating the “organ-trading scam” in the film, but more on that later.) The film goes to such crazy lengths to ensure that the script lends authenticity to the complexity of its muse that the writers, it is apparent, have only referred to the Millennial Bible™ aka the internet while penning the dialogues.

For instance, Noor starts off with its eponymous heroine, Sonakshi Sinha, mouthing an ancient quote that is attributed to Buddha. “The trouble is, you think you have time,” she informs the viewer. Except that, neither is this word of wisdom dropped by homeboy Buddha, nor is it ancient. Despite having the option to sanitise the film by fact-checking this piece of information and making it realistic, the makers instead chose to rely on a random person’s tweet that credited the line to Buddha. In doing so, Noor brilliantly highlights the life motto of millennials: “If it’s on the internet, it’s gotta be a safe bet.”

It’s really small details like these that transform Noor into a seminal piece of art that pays a long overdue homage to the millennial angst. The fact that its lead heroine is beautifully fleshed out, is an added bonus. In the film, Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor plays a clumsy 20-something journalist, who is used to tripping at least 15 times a day and hashtagging her hatred toward life, while living in a vintagey designer house. Here again, the writers have shown an incredulous amount of restraint by not giving her a terrible reason to hate her almost-perfect life. Instead she is shown sulking about her existence mostly because her father showers more attention on her dog than on her, and her inability to find a fuckboy who’ll extend the honour of completely wrecking her life.

Despite living in Mumbai, Noor is shown whining about the bathroom’s geyser not working for the better part of the film’s 120-minute runtime. It’s a clever and bold take on how millennials don’t always need a reason to complain about the things that should really matter. After all, a working geyser is every millennial’s birthright, irrespective of how humid the weather is.

By the look of it, weeks of research seemed to have gone behind curating the top 10 social media keywords that form the staple diet of millennials.

Noor also focuses on the various problems that affect millennials at work. In the film, Sonakshi Sinha is shown getting frustrated doing fluff pieces for a local news agency. When her boss shows the nerve to send her to interview Sunny Leone on her birthday, she decides to protest the complete waste of her talents by throwing shade on Leone and yawning and sneezing her way to glory. It’s heartening to see millennials stand for their beliefs, no matter how fucked up they are.

Noor’s heart is, instead, set on becoming a war reporter covering issue-based broadcast stories and having scars to boast about, just like her war-photographer bae (Purab Kohli). So dedicated she is to her dream that she even goes as far as applying for a job at CNN, shattering the long-standing cliché of millennials being lazy. Later, when she comes across what could be the biggest newsbreak of her career, Noor shows immense presence of mind by immediately labelling it as a “major organ-trading scam” even before investigating the evidence.

Not one to indulge in half-baked work, she gets her hands dirty, investigating the story of a well-connected doctor stealing kidneys from her maid’s brother by fishing out her weapon of choice – the iPhone – and recording the victim’s ordeal with utmost sincerity. For everyone who has ever classified millennials as entitled and lazy, these two scenes are going to hit them as hard as puberty hit Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin.

But, most importantly, Noor has set an example in shining a light on the utmost dedication to bringing to celluloid the all-consuming relationship between millennials and social media. By the look of it, weeks of research seemed to have gone behind curating the top 10 social media keywords that form the staple diet of millennials. Throughout the film, Noor is shown texting, Whatsapping, video chatting, and Skyping. Moreover, in what forms the climax of the film, she is shown posting an angry monologue on Facebook that goes viral within seconds and sparks a nationwide debate on how our cities are slowly suffocating us. Overnight, Noor turns into the hashtag #IAmNoor, attaining the kind of e-nirvana that every millennial aspires at achieving even before they are born.

If we were to nitpick, the only unbelievable trait that Noor has in the film, is when she announces that she has given up smoking cigarettes. Despite the makers ensuring backing up her claim with sound reasoning (she can’t afford cigarettes and damages her lungs by inhaling Mumbai’s polluted air), you’re left wondering the heights the film would have reached, if it didn’t have this helping of logic. Despite this, Noor looks like the revolution that is going to be tweeted, liked, and shared by millennials as the war cry they don’t just need but deserve.