Notebook (2006 film)
|Directed by||Rosshan Andrrews|
|Produced by||P. V. Gangadharan|
|Written by||Bobby Sanjay|
Suresh Gopi (Cameo)
|Music by||Mejo Joseph|
|Edited by||Ranjan Abraham|
|Distributed by||Kalpaka Films|
|Budget||₹18 million (US$280,000)|
Notebook (Malayalam: നോട്ട്ബുക്ക്) is a 2006 Malayalam teen film directed by Rosshan Andrrews and written by Bobby Sanjay. It is about three students at a boarding school and how they face up to challenges in their lives. The film dealt with the subject of teenage pregnancy. The film was praised for handling a rare and relevant subject, but the overall critical and box-office responses were mixed.
The film is about the friendship of three girls: Sarah Elizabeth (Roma), Pooja Krishna (Parvathy) and Sridevi (Mariya Roy), all studying in 12th standard at Lord's Academy in Ooty. They come from different family backgrounds—Sarah from a broken home, with her separated parents (Aishwarya and Suresh Gopi), Sridevi, from a happy, close-knit family, with her parents (Sukanya and Prem Prakash) doting on her, and Pooja, a day scholar living near the school with her mother (Seetha), whom the trio depend on, when they have problem between themselves. But on other issues, they believe in solving the problems by themselves. Sreedevi falls in love with a schoolmate, Sooraj Menon (Skanda Ashok). Though hesitant at first, Sarah and Pooja approve their love after being convinced of Sooraj's sincerity. During an excursion to Goa, Sreedevi and Sooraj have sex, and eventually she becomes pregnant, much to the shock of Sarah and Pooja, and moreover herself. They keep the news to themselves, fearing the sorrow and wrath of Sreedevi's parents; even Sooraj is kept in the dark, for fear that the news may leak out. They decide to go for an abortion in a small hospital near their school. During the Founder's Day celebrations at the school, the trio sneaks out of the campus, and reaches the hospital. Pooja keeps watch outside the hospital while Sarah and Sreedevi go in and they convince the gynaecologist for an abortion by telling several lies, including that Sreedevi had been raped. During abortion, Sreedevi suffers excessive blood loss and dies. Sarah and Pooja flee the hospital in terror and return to school. However, they are summoned to the principal's office the next day, and the doctor who came to the school as a part of an enquiry identifies Sarah. Sarah confesses that the rape story was a lie and Sreedevi actually had sex with somebody she loves, but she maintains she doesn't know who that is. Pooja, who considers her future as important, distances herself from the whole episode, leaving Sarah embarrassed and angry. The principal, who is concerned about the status of the school presses for not registering a police case, dismisses Sarah from the school. Pooja, now ashamed of and disturbed by what she did, tries to apologise to Sarah, but meets with hostility. Pooja loses her mental stability, unable to take the pressure of having lost two best friends together—one to death and the other to her own betrayal. Years later, on Sarah's graduation day, she receives a letter that claims to be from Sreedevi. The letter informs her that Pooja was in a mental asylum for 6 years, and she needs Sarah's company. Sarah, returning to Ooty, finds out that Pooja has been discharged from the mental hospital. They realise how much they missed each other and return to their school campus to a tree they had planted years ago.
- Roma Asrani as Sarah Elizabeth. Coming from a broken family, she does not have much regard for her parents. She believes in always telling the truth.
- Mariya Roy as Sreedevi, a relatively silent, innocent girl. She trusts her best friends Sarah and Pooja, and acts as the truce maker when they disagree on any issue. She loves her parents, but is not too close with them.
- Parvathy as Pooja Krishnan, a smart student who completes the best friends trio. She is very practical and bold, and is concerned about her friends.
- Skanda Ashok as Sooraj Menon, Sreedevi's lover
- Suresh Gopi as Brigadier Alexander, Sarah's father
- Aishwarya as Elizabeth, Sarah's mother
- Seetha as Pooja's mother
- Prem Prakash as Swaminathan, Sreedevi's father
- Sukanya as Sridevi's mother
- Ravindran as a doctor
- Mejo Joseph as Feroz, a student
The filming was primarily held at Lawrence School, Lovedale, Ooty. The director Roshan Andrews says "Although it cost a fortune to shoot there, it turned out to be perfect. I had visited many schools in Kerala, but couldn't find what I wanted." The other filming locations were the Medical College Ground and the Indian Institute of Management in Kozhikode. The casting of the film was done through open calls. According to the director, the cast was selected from 5000 applicants. The film was produced by Grihalakshmi Films, a production house known for family dramas. The budget of the film was Rs. 18 million.
The film was released to an enthusiastic trade because the film was the director Roshan Andrews' second film after the 2005 blockbuster Udayananu Tharam. However the film opened to mixed response from the critics. Though the reviewer complemented Andrews for taking up a taboo subject and casting newcomers, he found the film unimpressive as a whole, and gave the verdict as "Ho-hum, just average". Andrews later said that the review "came as a rude shock" to him and he "could not sleep for days." He went on to defend the film and stated that "it is close to my heart and it’s my baby." The Varnachitram.com review was generally positive, calling it an "interesting movie." However the reviewer felt that "[i]t takes the whole of the first half to reach the first plot point." He goes on to state that "[t]he line in the story would have read "Boy and Girl fall in love", but stretching it to the entire first half was, lets say a stretch." The reviewer lauded the direction and screenplay when the major theme of the film is dealt with. He also credited the director for "extracting great performances out of newcomers." The OneIndia.com review, though at first comments that "[t]here are times when you might feel as if the director is very obsessed with periods and pregnancy than the story itself", later adds that "the film's real theme seems to be something very relevant in today's changing times—the need for a strong family and support base." The rediff.com review was generally negative. The reviewer felt that "[t]he single biggest handicap this film suffers from is the fact that none of the characters are real, believable." However, he adds that "[t]he bright spot is that the bunch of newcomers put in some exuberance into the otherwise turgid film." There was almost universal praise for the music of the film by debutant Mejo Joseph, who also plays a part in the film, and for the cinematography by C. Diwakar. In an interviews the director Roshan Andrews revealed that "[s]even of Malayalam’s best known directors—Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad, Sibi Malayil, Joshy, Jayaraj, Lal Jose and I. V. Sasi—saw the film and personally called [him] up and said it was not only good but was touching."
Notebook has the dubious distinction of raising a controversy about the box-office performance. As an OneIndia.com report puts it, "[t]here was lot of argument about the film's performance at the box office. Some claim that it was an utter washout. Others said that the film is doing phenomenal business." Such a controversy can be attributed to the lack of proper auditing of the collections of films in Kerala, though this is y in the Indian film industry. According to the director "[i]t had a slow start at the box-office, but collections [were] picking up day by day." He said, "Notebook has been impressive... with Rs 3.8[ million collected] from just 35 screens" in the first week. The film completed 50 days in major centres, the film received positive reviews from audience and gained a cult status among youngsters and was a box office success in long run.
All the songs composed by debutant Mejo Joseph.
- "Hrudayavum" – Vineeth Sreenivasan, Jyotsna
- "Changathikoottam" – Rimi Tomy, Sayonara, Afsal, Vidhu Prathap
- "Iniyum" – K. J. Yesudas, Manjari
- "As We All Know" – Donan, Ramya, Swapna, Vinaita
- "Snapshots of school life". The Hindu. 15 September 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-17. Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "snapshots" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
- "Interview: Roshan Andrews". Sify.com. 20 January 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Review: Notebook". varnachitram. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Notebook Review". Entertainment.oneindia.in. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "Review Roundup: Notebook". varnachitram. Retrieved 2009-01-26.