Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: Movie Review

By Vinay Charaniya

Star cast: Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, and Kalki Koechlin

Director: Zoya Akhtar

Let’s set the expectations straight. One of the most awaited movies of this year, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) is not path breaking or a cult one (like Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai). It is not something which will cater to the ‘mass audience’ (Ready/Double Dhamaal lovers don’t bother buying the tickets).

It isn’t a movie which after watching will be a discussion topic (the recent Shaitan). It isn’t a movie which will make a generation realize that it’s not all about making money or slogging at work but life is actually about, as the very clichéd line goes, ‘living every second’.

Instead, ZNMD is a breezy watch, like a cool lemon drink soothing you on a hot summer day. It’s a movie which will make you go ‘wow’ several times as you watch the breathtaking landscape of Spain (absolutely jaw dropping cinematography by Carlos Catalan), a movie which will make you laugh at the very Farhan Akhtar style, light hearted non crass humour, present throughout the movie, a kind of movie which you know you have not watched on Indian cinema before.

Yes, this is a Bollywood road movie and a very fine one at that.

The movie begins with Kabir (Abhay Deol) proposing to Natasha (Kalki Koechlin) which sets off the bachelor road trip planned by Kabir with his two best buddies – Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) and Imran (Farhan Akhtar). As per their ‘pact’, each of them would chose an adventure sport and the others would have to try it out, irrespective of their fears.

To credit the script writers (Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti), they create believable life like yet diverse characters. Abhay is the traditional born in a business family rich guy, Hrithik is the money driven London based executive wanting to overwork in order to retire post 40, while Farhan is the funny-creative happy go lucky advertising agency copywriter. Farhan, in fact has shades of all 3 characters from DCH, with the depth of Akshaye, goofiness of Saif and coolness of Aamir.

The stylish trio reach Spain and meet Laila (Katrina-best screen name she has ever had!) who is their trainer for deep sea diving and becomes part of their journey. In between stunning visuals, love blooms for Hrithik and Katrina sealed with a lovely kiss (has to be a marketers delight!). The deep sea diving, sky diving, bull racing and the Tomatina festival scenes are top notch and full credit to the Director for bringing this freshness to Bollywood screens. A special mention for the sky diving scenes, which has to be rated as one of the finest pieces of cinematography in recent times.

The characters uncurl themselves with each adventure sport overcoming personal fears. But these are the parts of the film where one feels that the theme of the movie could have been brought out stronger. When probably a push was required, Director Zoya Akhtar settles for a nudge, which a majority of the Indian audiences may not feel.

The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is a letdown and other than Dil Dhadakne Do and Senorita, the other songs fail to register. As for the performances, Katrina Kaif looks her gorgeous self and forms a great looking pair with Hrithik (kind of makes you wonder why they haven’t been cast together before!). Kalki pitches in a sweet performance, very unlike her earlier movies and a welcome change for her too! There is also a wonderful cameo by Naseerudin Shah, making you wish the Director had given him more screen time.

Abhay, in one of his more mainstream roles, once again proves that after Dharmendra, he is the Deol with the best comic timing. The scene which leads to him proposing Kalki will leave you completely in splits.

Hrithik, with his Greek God looks, is sincere and honest, never over the top. Easily the biggest ‘star’ of the movie, Hrithik is happy to be one among the boys and plays the character with great restrain.

But the scene stealer is definitely Farhan Akhtar, with the best written role and the funniest lines, his Imran is what lightens up (pun intended) ZNMD and makes it sparkle. Am wondering if there is anything in movies that Farhan can’t do, he can direct, write, sing, dance and act! (The story goes that as a kid, Farhan was the one who won dance competitions at birthday parties which even had very nimble Hrithik!)

Summarizing, ZNMD is a movie which could have had a better after taste, but is a refreshing watch and is certainly not a journey worth missing. You will come out of the movie halls happier, which has to be one of the parameters for rating a movie.

Go catch it at your nearest cinema and the money will be well spent!

Rating: 3.5/5

The author is a close friend from IIML. Was in the business of selling newspapers for the past one year, got tired of it and switched to selling paint recently. Given his passion for movies and the ability to be verbose (even when there is nothing to write about!) movie reviews came naturally to the man. So if he doesn’t let his famed laziness get over him, you will see more reviews from Vinay here. He tweets as @VinayCharaniya