I have to begin this movie review of Zindagi na Milegi Dobara by saying that though it was a very enjoyable film, and perhaps accurately described as India’s first fully fledged road movie, it is not quite Dil Chahta Hai. Though comparisons are odious, in this case they are inevitable and Zindagi falls that little bit short of DCH, which was undeniably a cult film.
As with DCH, Zindagi na Milegi Dobara directed by Zoya Akhtar and penned by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti follows the trials and tribulations of three friends, and the evolution that their relationships go through. Farhan Akhtar, the thinking woman woman’s crumpet plays the irreverent Imraan, the lighthearted funster on the surface but a poet with his own issues under the surface. Hrithik Roshan, (pretty much any woman’s crumpet and looking rather awesome in the film I am bound to admit) plays the work obsessed stock broker Arjun. Abhay Deol plays the gentle, steadfast Kabir who acts as the glue in this three way relationship and unresolved conflicts between the other two. Kabir is also contending with a in impending marriage to Natasha (Kalki Koechelin) that he isn’t at all sure of.
A pact made earlier between the friends meant that they three set out on a trip Spain where each one gets to indulge in an adventure sport of their own choice and the other two are to join in. Kabir picks deep sea diving, Arjun picks sky diving with a parachute, and Imraan picks running with the bulls. The beautiful Spanish countryside and cities of Costa Brava, Seville and Pamplona offer a travelogue like experience to the viewer.
The journey, which is supposed to be an extended bachelor jaunt for the three friends before Kabir gets married is a journey that is both literal as well as of the emotional kind. It starts off with some tension between the uptight Arjun and the irreverent Imraan who proceed to work out some issues from their past after Imraan flings Arjun’s constantly ringing phone out of the car window.
The three meet diving instructor Laila (Katrina Kaif), who has rather a big impact on Arjun as she literally holds his hand through the deep sea diving expedition; a difficult experience for him since he cannot swim. She opens up a whole new way of thinking for him and makes true her own prediction for him – “Tumhari Zindagi badalne wali hai”.
There is the subplot of Imraan’s real father, an artist who abandoned his mother before his birth, who is living in Spain and whom Imraan is both eager and reluctant to meet. The other relationship that runs like a thread through the film is the difficult one between the possessive, insecure Natasha and the conflicted Kabir.
Plus Points of Zindagi na Milegi Dobara
The characters are greatly likeable, well etched and identifiable and played with great élan by all the actors. The script is amusing and enjoyable and immediately strikes a chord with the urban educated with several genuinely funny moments (such as when the three recall their teacher who used to ask the ‘bwaays’ if they were ‘the man-tally challenged’).
The music is also very enjoyable and some very apt use of rousing Spanish rhythms has been made by the hugely talented trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy – you find yourself nodding your head in time with more than one foot tapping number.
The visuals are great and the movie is a visual delight. For DCH fans (such as me) many of the camera angles recall Aamir, Akshaye and Saif silhouettes irresistibly to mind.
The resolutions in the end and the metamorphosis that more than one of the characters undergoes in the movie; as well as the restoration of friendship is also reminiscent of DCH, and are altogether satisfactory.
The Negatives of Zindagi na Milegi Dobara
The emotional angles of the film are a bit labored in parts, with a bit too much emphasis on the angst, which tends to make the pace of the film lag in parts. The movie is perhaps 15 minutes too long and could have benefited hugely from a bit more crispness and a slight abbreviation in the script. Also the ending is a little pat, but this is not really a negative; things fall into place rather satisfactorily in the end. I also thought that certain moments in the film could have been exploited for some more humour.
Then there are the necessarily brief roles of Deepti Naval and Naseeruddin Shah in the film – this is not so much a complaint because it couldn’t have been any other way; it’s just that one always wishes to see more of these marvellous actors at any time.
Most movie reviews of Zindagi na Milegi Dobara have given the film 3.5 and I more or less agree – a fun, enjoyable film with appropriate bits of angst and conflict; Oh! And Hrithik Roshan has never looked better and Abahy Deol was as likeable as he was in Honeymoon Travels Ltd.; Farhan Akhtar as terrific as he was in his defining film Rock On.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia