Movie Review: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - of Life, Love and Letting Go
by Anitha S
Daijiworld Media Network - Entertainment
Mangalore, Jul 15: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is one of those movies that do not depend on high drama or fast-paced action for their success. Its strength lies in its smooth flow and the simple yet compelling narrative.
The beauty of the film is that it shows you how to live, or how you ought to live your life, without forcing its mantra on you.
Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots and now Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. The formula of male bonding between three friends works once again, and splendidly so.
Zoya Akhter’s directorial venture is far more than a tourism advertisement for Spain as some purported it be. Yes, it is a journey through mind-blowing locations and awesome adventures, but it is also a journey through life. It’s about conquering one’s fears, confronting one’s past and letting go of all inhibitions. The movie is about what Katrina Kaif says – seize the day, or carpe diem.
Three old friends, Arjun (Hrithik Roshan), Imran (Farhan Akhter) and Kabir (Abhay Deol) decide to go on Kabir’s bachelor road trip to Spain, as per a pact they had made long ago. Arjun, a successful financial broker is the reserved one, totally engrossed in his work, who needs some cajoling (though not much) and a thumbs-down from his girlfriend to make him join the trip. Imran, a copywriter, is the happy-go-lucky sort who loves to fool around. Yet, he too has a serious side to him, which gets unravelled through the course of the narrative. Kabir is a ‘catalyst’, a cross-section of fun and seriousness, often playing the mediator between Arjun and Imran. One can’t help but be reminded of Saif Ali Khan’s role in Dil Chahta, who played the mediator to bring together the other two friends.
The pact that they made years ago requires each to go on an adventure which the other two must also take on. The adventure itself is a last moment surprise, so there’s no question of backing out. The scene shifts to Spain, where the friction between Arjun and Imran is palpable straight away, over some past girlfriend troubles. They even come to blows at one point of time, but as the movie progresses, the two iron out their differences and rediscover their friendship. Enter Katrina Kaif, the lovely deep-sea diving instructor, who teaches lessons in life to Arjun and brings him out of his inhibitions. Arjun’s transformation from a money-making, serious-minded financier to a fun-loving adventurous dude has been handled with great poise by Hrithik.
Interspersed with the main narrative are the stories of each of the three friends, mainly Kabir and Imran. Kabir’s fiancée Natasha (Kalki Koechlin), an interior designer, is too possessive of Kabir, and bugs him constantly with marriage plans which scares and troubles him. The ‘chudel alert’ issued by Farhan Akhter at her arrival is a riot, so also the way he calls her ‘sweet’ at the insistence of Kabir. Kalki, though she doesn’t have much to do except complain, has played her role well.
Imran is battling problems of his own, and his inward journey and subsequent confrontation with the past is beautifully brought out through Javed Akhter’s poetry, read by Farhan himself. Farhan does a marvellous job, balancing the scales between a prankster and a troubled individual. He is in fact outstanding, and it would not be an exaggeration to say he is the backbone of the movie, and one ought to watch it simply to see him break into fits of laughter.
The movie flows on smoothly, with some excellent camera work by Carlos Catalan and screenplay by Zoya Akhter and Reema Kagti. The three main adventures have been captured well, but one wishes they could have been a wee bit longer. Also, though it is about the three men conquering their fears, they do not really seem to be that scared before the adventure, except perhaps Imran who has to be literally pushed off the plane. There are some drag moments which could have been avoided, and by the time it’s intermission you wonder when they would be embarking on the remaining two adventures. You actually start getting restless.
The pranks are somewhat juvenile and repetitive, but enjoyable nevertheless. The dialogues are witty, and here a special mention has to be made of ‘Bagvati’, care of Imran. ‘She’ is a bag costing 12,000 euros, a gift for Natasha by Kabir, and throughout Imran looks after ‘her’ with all his attention. The idea reminds one of Amy Adams’ ‘Louis’ (Louis Vuitton bag) in ‘Leap Year,’ though in ZNMD it is exaggerated but never over the top.
Zoya Akhter has made good use of Spain’s best adventure sports – from deep-sea diving to getting chased by bulls, Spain is covered from corner to corner. Not even its skies are left alone. The movie is definitely a visual treat.
Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol are excellent. Katrina doesn’t have much to do, and though she is projected as a fun-loving girl who lives every moment, she could have been a little more open and outgoing. Smiling and dishing out lessons on life is about the only things she does.
The chemistry between the three friends works like magic, and their easy conversations, their pranks on each other and even moments of sober understanding makes you relate with them. Even moments of silence speak a lot.
Naseeruddin Shah in his guest appearance is a class act as usual.
The one thing that stands apart and which really endears you to ZNMD is that it is honest. The characters are spontaneous and natural. No melodrama, no dragging emotional scenes, and most of the songs are blended into the narrative. ZNMD is as fresh as it can get.
In short, there is never a dull moment. Go watch ZNMD, it’s worth every rupee.