Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Movie Review

4 /5 Stars

“Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you only have one life and one chance to do it all.”— Unknown

ZNMD is that road trip, which you’ve always wanted to take but the time hasn’t come yet…Will it ever?

The whiff of freshness in the screenplay, real lifelike characters, beautiful visuals from Spain and Javed Akhtar’s awesome poetry is what makes the movie a must-watch. It works, not because the story or the plot is something innovative – on the contrary there’s nothing new here. (It’s about 3 friends going on a road trip as a bachelor’s pact, before one of them gets married). The movie rather works because it is a slice of life, YOUR life! 4 reasons for the 4 stars:

1) Direction

Zoya Akhtar does it again and how – the screen flows like a mellifluous river which meanders across for 3 laid-back hours. It’s as good as having a piping hot cappuccino on a chilly evening, sitting somewhere at a roadside cafe in Europe. Zoya has managed to make an emotional connect with the audience without bowing down to any sort of formulaic diktats of big budget multi-starrers or even an iota of melodrama. The dialogues, screenplay everything fits into a casual style and is all underplayed with a dash of simple humor, which makes you smile throughout. (Some of the scenes induce more than a chuckle, like the one where the 3 boys break into the Doordarshan tune of 80s in a pissed drunk state). Bollywood certainly needs more female directors!

2) Acting

In a movie premise as simple as this, acting wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Also, there is bonhomie and visibly great chemistry amongst the cast. But 2 people who still stand out of the whole lot are Hrithik Roshan and Farhan Akhtar, for the way they conceal and reveal their pains and misguided focus in life.

Hrithik’s character undergoes a sort of semi-transformation and the one scene highlighting his facial expressions when he comes out of the sea, shows how fast is he achieving mastery over his craft. (And he’s also closest to most of us as a character – the promise to earn a lot of money and retire by the age of 40 is a line we’ve all heard and spoken quire often!). Farhan on the other hand lends spontaneity to his part, mostly as the humor boy with a few well managed serious scenes, which reveal the internal battles he’s grappling with. Katrina Kaif, as usual is the candyfloss and has to maintain a happy-go-lucky tone throughout. (Though she also carries the enviable task of portraying the philosophy of the movie – ‘breathe and live every moment’).

Kalki is the only blah character, who has the stereotypical role of a nagging fiancee. She is quite average in the movie and unfortunately is not eye-candy either. Which leaves us with Abhay who somehow disappoints, despite being the current poster boy of alternate cinema. For starters, he definitely needs voice modulation training, apart from learning to add more layers to his character.

3) Poetry

Javed Akhtar’s poetry is the voice of the movie and the words are one which definitely touch a chord. He pulls out from his bag of tricks, emotions which are buried deep down in everyone’s subconscious – fears, regrets, baggages of the past and stress of the future…Serenity of the presence is what is required in our lives, and he knows very well what we feel deep within. Hats off to the maestro!

4) Spain

Spain as the background character of the movie, is absolutely ravishing in the way it has been captured on celluloid. Be it the serene countryside with feral horses running around, the Tomatino festival, the cobblestone streets or the bull-race in the finale. It is a vivid celebration of color and life under the Spanish sky.

The only star I would deduct is because of a slight slack in the starts, both at the beginning of the movie, as well as post-interval. The 20 odd minutes don’t hold you as well as rest of the film. Also, as far as the music is concerned it flows with the movie, but wouldn’t sound that awesome as a standalone OST. Nothing spectacular on that front, actually.

So go ahead, have a great weekend and live it up ‘cos ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’!

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” — Diane Ackerman


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