The film introduces Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan Bahl as Kabir and Firdous, both teachers at a small school in the middle of a lake in Kashmir. The setting is gorgeous and distracts us from the fact that Zaheer as Kabir is not really Ryan Gosling from the original story, but I suppose he has his moments, and has a decent voice.
Kabir is not a very good teacher, but the kids begin to like him, and so do we as an audience. He finds a diary left behind by the previous teacher, and begins to read, promptly falling in love with the writer, Firdous teacher.
At first the reading seems to be tiresome, but it slowly introduces the characters and we realise that we don't really mind them. Perhaps it is the stunning setting of the film that distracts us from the premise and you don't think that the lad is rather creepy, seeking out Firdous whom he has never met.
His jealous rage when he reads that Firdous is about to get married to another man makes you pause. This is a very weird kind of love, he is jealous of someone he has never met and can burn the notebook he has really no right to be reading...
At least in the original story, Ryan Gosling is reading the diary to an old man to help him reclaim his memories, here, when Kabir actually goes to the school where Firdous is now teaching and wanders from classroom to classroom looking for a teacher with a tattoo of a star on her hand (and no one stops him!). If that doesn't send alarm bells ringing for the safety of the children in that school, what will?
The film tackles the delicate Kashmir situation between people and their loyalties rather well. With one father ready to convert his son to radical religious teaching and the teacher pleading with the father to help change the discourse is what earns this movie its stars.
And yes, the children in that floating school are so cute, you forgive the creepy teacher who is reading another person's diary. The kids have been cast well, and they do not annoy you as other kids do in Bollywood movies. If nothing, this movie will perhaps persuade young people to keep a diary and step away from their infernal phones.
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