|Roma, Maria, Vaani, and Parvathy|
|P. V Gangadharan|
So it was but natural for us to rush to the cinemas on opening day, opening show to watch this much talked about Rosshan’s brave new attempt at Rs 3 crore. But sadly, the director has slipped with a weak and undernourished love story set in a boarding school that makes you snooze.
If Udayan was a masterpiece in screenplay writing (Thanks to Sreenivasan), Notebook’s major flaw is the story and screenplay by Bobby and Sanjay. This completely insensitive film is excessively verbose with three girls as protagonists holed up in a boarding school trying to iron out their emotional problems through passionate dialogues.
Pooja( Parvathy ), Sridevi( Maria ) and Saira( Roma ) are classmates and close friends in twelfth standard studying in Lord’s Academy in Ooty. Pooja lives with her mother (Seeta) and she is the school leader and the brightest student in class. Saira comes from a broken home (Suresh Gopi & Aishwarya) and is the naughty one with a heart of gold. She always playing pranks and gets caught often by Principal whom the girls call ‘Dracula’.
Sridevi’s parents (Prem Prakash & Sukanya) dot on their daughter. Saira and Sridevi are in hostel. There are two guys Firoz( Majo Joseph) and Suraj Menon(Sooraj) in their class. Firoz is a meek guy, bad in studies but is crazy about music and Suraj is the hero of the class. Slowly Suraj falls in love with Sridevi and in a school excursion they end up making love which results in Sridevi becoming pregnant.
How Saira and Pooja deal the situation and what follows form the rest of the story. The weakest link in Notebook is its script and presentation. The director has inflicted us with a film which has no coherence, consistent plot and the screenplay is amateurish and moves at snail pace. The all new star cast infuses energy into their roles but a boring and monotonous script lets them down completely.
The screenplay is littered with embarrassing gags. When Sridevi gets her periods during her practical exams Saira and Pooja asks Suraj (who ultimately falls for Sri) to go and get sanitary napkins! It is ludicrous humour and the dialogues (the salesman asks him whether he wants ‘Whisper large size with wings’!) is more puerile and in low taste.
However, the plus points of the film are the camera of C.Divakar and the songs tuned by Majo Joseph who also plays Firoz the wannabe musician. The number “Changati Kootam Vanne…” is the pick of the lot and well picturised , against Sunil Babu’s lovely sets.
Among the newcomers it is Roma as Saira who gives a very impressive performance. Parvathy the Kiran TV veejay and Maria are promising. But Suresh Gopi is the scene stealer especially in the scene in which he takes his daughter’s side at the Principal’s office room. The actor who made the role of the strict principal life like deserves a special mention.
There are too many songs in the first half and the story just does not move for 90 minutes in the first half. Where was editor Ranjan Abraham? On the whole Rosshan who wanted to make a cute film set in school milieu that's naughty and nice, ends up dishing out a fare that looks more like a documentary on periods, pregnancy, its detection and abortion.
Verdict: Déjà vu