"Noblemen" | Kataria’s ‘noble’ debut
If I say ‘all boys boarding school’, the first thing which might come to your mind is bullying. And, that is what exactly Vandana Kataria’s Noblemen is basically trying to address.
The story, which is inspired by Shakespeare’s play ‘Merchant of Venice’, follows a set up of a boarding school called Mount Noble High, which is all excited to celebrate its 50th Founders Day.
Following the raw story of every student in such schools, Kataria takes up the road of a strict code of seniority and the junior students. Obviously, no one wants to be called a ‘rat’ or a snitch, which is perceived to be worse than bullying and how the juniors prefer to remain shut about it.
In the opening scene itself, the story gives an indication that something is going to be wrong. We get introduced to the characters like Shay (played by Ali Haji), Arjun (portrayed by Mohommad Ali Mir), and Badal (played by Shaan Grover) – who take the story forward. Even though they are still in their young age, it seems like they have completely understood the depth and seriousness of the subject (bullying). Their exact portrayal of emotions and correct usage of acting skills is impressive.
The story takes a turn when the drama teacher of the school Murali (played by Kunal Kapoor) chooses Shay to essay ‘Bassanio’ in the play, which is to be performed at the school’s Founders Day.
While talking about the movie, the story not just introduces us to the victim but also gives us a glimpse of the bully’s side. The film shows how and what makes a bully do what he does. Apart from bullying, many serious issues like drug abuse, body shaming, and homosexuality are elaborately addressed in the film. And, Murali is shown as the quiet spectator of the happenings.
One particular scene which will grab one’s attention is when Murali talks to the Headmaster of the school about homosexuality, and says, “Why can’t we do anything about this…it is such a shame that the boys have to suffer.” To which, the headmaster replies, “Honestly I fear for the ones who come out.” It will give you shiver down the spine.
There is even a segment, in which you will see Shay avoiding his favourite teacher Murali due to some turned events in the school premises.
As the story proceeds, it gets little slower but I think some or the other issues coming up would make you want to watch the story.
Also, at some points, it is a little uncomfortable to watch some scenes in this film. They are not obscene, but you will know what I mean when you watch the film.
There is a small appearance of Soni Razdaan as Shay’s mother, and undoubtedly she delivers the best in the given time.
All in all, it is a good mix of story and acting which compels one to watch the movie. It is a mirror to the society – of what we see but ignore.