Mumbai, You're Killing me!, would, perhaps, have been the appropriate title for this adaptation of Saba Imtiaz’s novel Karachi, You're Killing Me!. But then the whole emphasis would have shifted inexorably to the city, nor the person. Noor Roy Chaudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) is a self obsessed journalist, flying solo over any secondary characters who happen to turn up and try to steal her show. True, there are some nicely shot visuals of Mumbai, but these are swamped by equally great compositions of Sonakshi working out, coming out of a hot shower (when her geyser works) and making out with supposedly dishy men; all of whom turn out to be either coke-heads, wimpy Mama’s boys or creeps. The life of a 28 year old single lady on a week-end in Mumbai couldn’t have been more normal.
In truth, Noor is a movie caught in a mouse-trap. On the one hand, it is a rom-com about the love life of an urban professional who drives her own car, goes to the gym and is looking for that impossible combination - a hot guy and a nice guy. But it also presents itself as a film about investigative city journalism, set in a city that has acute problems of civic infrastructure, social inequality and crime. Unable to make up its mind on what it is really about, we are handed some priceless lessons on journalism.
Noor works for a TV news channel and is tired of being made to do silly things like interviewing Sunny Leone. For the umpteenth time, Sunny (playing herself) declares that she is an actress with a diverse portfolio and has been offered many great roles in ‘Bollywood’. Noor throws her hands up in despair. Then she goes home to do what all good city journalists in Mumbai do. She listens to the woes of her maid.
Her maid, Malati (Smita Tambe), informs her of a kidney transplant racket run by a well known doctor. Apparently, this evil man steals the kidneys of poor people by offering them employment. Noor is shocked by this revelation, records a few statements of the victims on camera and files her story. But unfortunately, her editor is an idealist turned conformist who deliberately delays the telecast.
Meanwhile, Noor sleeps over the story too. She goes to bed with a journalist she is lusting after, a man called Ayan Banerjee (Purab Kohli) who claims to be a battle scarred war photographer. Between the sheets, she caresses his 'bullet injury’ like she would a valuable textbook from media school.
The rules of TV news engagement are made perfectly clear in this movie. First, to protect your source from random mafia hitmen, make sure that you don’t put his mug shot on national TV. Second, beware of leaks and plagiarism, and don’t talk about a story until after it is on air. Third, make war with war correspondents, not love.
Inevitably, the makers of this film have compromised their research on the functioning of a TV news network. They have given us widely accepted platitudes on the working of such an organization. Then they have gone on to create a banal central character, better suited to be a 'Page 3' celebrity than a journalist. Further, instead of accepting feedback from professionals in the field, the makers have chosen cliche over verisimilitude. The result is a film that makes you laugh out loud at the sheer naivety of its presentation.