The posters of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara do tend to remind one of The Hangover, the promos sort of remind one of Dil Chahta Hai. The fact that people get reminded of while watching the film is life, a slice of it.
Three friends decide to implement a pact, that before the first marriage in the group, they will undertake a journey wherein all 3 will participate in 3 different sports. On the occasion of Kabir Dewan (Abhay Deol, Dev D, Socha Na Tha, Aisha) getting married to Natasha (Kalki, Dev D, Shaitaan), the trio decide to implement, the once cancelled trip.
Imran (Farhan Akhtar, Rock On, Karthik Calling Karthik), a copywriter based in Delhi and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan, Guzaarish, Jodhaa Akbar) a financial broker from London embark on the journey of their life time in Spain. During their journey, they meet Laila (Katrina Kaif, Tees Maar Khan, Raajneeti) and Nuria (Ariadna Cabrol), who accompany them for part of their journey.
As the clichéd saying goes, life is all about living the journey, not reaching the destination. The destination, in some sorts, is the end. And no one enjoys that! This brilliantly scripted film by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti is all about living and enjoying the journey called life.
The editing by Anand Subaya, post interval should have been tighter by around 10 minutes, because there is that portion in the film where one tends to yawn, which is bad for a film such as this, which hurts your mouth due to the constant smile on your face, but I guess they owed Spain Tourism that.
Carlos Catalan’s cinematography is brilliant. Not only has he captured Spain beautifully, he also manages to infuse life into various aspects of the screenplay. Over and above some brilliantly shot sequences (deepsea diving, sky diving, landscapes) the one that left a lasting memory was the night in the outdoors when the 3 are contemplating about their lives, with Javed Akhtar’s poetry in the background. Truly sublime.
The screenplay of the film will remind each and every viewer about some aspect of their lives, lived or aspired. And that is the winner for the film. It is not the fact that considering the combined equity of the lead actors, it doesn’t get bigger than this which makes the film special. It is because the characters portrayed by these ‘stars’ are so believable. I know quite a few people who have lived, some still do, the ambition of Arjun. While many will always spot the Imraan in their ‘circle of friends’. Laila is everyone’s aspirational goal and Natasha, a nightmare in a partner. But it is Kabir, that the maximum people will identify with. That is the power of the content.
The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Patiala House, Game ) is very safe, neither path breaking nor boring. Ik Junoon and Senorita are already chart busters, but what I loved the most is ‘Khaabon ke Parindey’, for its placement, the manner in which it is shot and for its soothing melody. Reminded me a lot of Phir Dekhiye & Tumhari Meri Baatein from Rock On!
Kalki though has the least amount of screen time, impresses yet again with her interpretation of an aspiring interior designer willing to give up everything for marriage.
Katrina not only looks beautiful but has also proved that she is turning out to be an actress of strong caliber, if given the right platform. She exudes so much of positivity on screen that it rubs off on more than just Hrithik.
Abhay Deol, the sort of outsider in this film (since the others are all family friends) reaffirms that if he is part of a project, it will be worth the audiences’ money. He is so affable as the man stuck, in an impending marital situation he doesn’t know how he got into, with friends who cannot stop bickering. All he wants is everyone whom he cares for, to be happy.
Farhan Akhtar, as the ‘cool’ man in the group, is the scene stealer of the film. Unlike Rock On, Luck by Chance and Karthik Calling Karthik, there is no angst ridden expression that he is carrying throughout the film. Here, he is a live wire. Always trying to make fun of situations around him and wanting to enjoy the moment. He takes his buffoonery to such heights that when his emotional breakdown does take place, you can’t help but feel, the lump in your throat. Be it his camaraderie with Abhay, his mockery of Hrithik, his flirting with Katrina, the face-off with Naseer or Senorita, truly effortless.
Hritihk Roshan is a star, a super star. The fact that couple of his last films (Kites, Guzaarish) have not done so well, is passé. This is Hrithik from Jodhaa Akbar, one who commands your attention when he is onscreen. The ambition ridden, money hunting trader, leading a uni-dimensional life in his 3 BHK in London, yet carrying so much insecurity and conveying all this and more through his eyes only. Flawless. There is no doubt that he is the star of the film and he carries it on his shoulders ably. His chemistry with Katrina too is much better than her ‘khiladis’. ‘Hrithik looks like a Greek God’ is as rhetoric a statement as ‘the Sun shines’.
Zoya does a much better job of picking up the threads from where Farhan left them a decade ago in Dil Chahta Hai. A travel film is always going to be difficult to shoot, but after seeing the powerful screenplay, one feels that it could have been shot anywhere and yet had the same impact. Handling an ensemble cast and getting their best is not child’s play and she excels.
I for one, am definitely going to watch in again….the question is are you?
YusuF Poonawala, is an independent writer, who authors The Y Factor . Explore his passion for movies with reviews and everything around them.