Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

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Deep sea diving, Sky diving, the scenic locales of Spain, Tomatino festival and three friends making the most of each and every moment of their lives. Yes, sounds nearly like a dream and that’s just what Farhan Akhtar’s sister Zoya Akhtar tries attaining in her slice of life film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD). Whether her dreamy film actually works in content as well or not remains to be seen.

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, katrina Kaif, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar

ZNMD is about the journey that changes the lives of three best friends – Arjun (Hrithik Roshan), Imran (Farhan Akhtar) and Kabir (Abhay Deol). Before he gets entangled in a lifelong bond of marriage with Natasha (Kalki Koechlin), Kabir wants to celebrate his bachelor’s party with his friends and so the three head out to Spain to fulfil a pact they had formed 4 years ago. A road trip where each one gets to do one ultimate sport along with the other two. How the journey becomes a moment of epiphany for each of them and how they overcome their problems and fears is what forms the rest of the story.

First and foremost, the biggest clarification is that, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is nothing like the false message doing the rounds. The three lead actors, DO NOT DIE IN THE END. And about the second speculation of it being a take off from Dil Chahta Hai, I can only say that the film does give glimpses of DCH but isn’t exactly like it. For one to enjoy ZNMD, one has to come to terms with the fact that since the film is about the journey the lead cast takes to Spain (and since the producers have incurred heavy expenses to shoot in the country) there are great possibilities of the film to come across very touristy with many scenes dwelling far too long on each and every tourist spot or adventure.

The first half of the film does appear pacy with too many things happening simultaneously. But it’s the second half, filled with melodrama that appears too stretched. In the times when the attention span of the audience is diminishing by each film and generally most of the films are having a run time of 2 hours, a proper 3 hour film including the interval appears very long.

There are however, many things that catch the attention of the audience; the timing between the actors being one. It is their infectious camaraderie, humour and joy that transports the viewer into their world. More importantly, the characters are very relatable. Farhan Akhtar deserves a special mention for his brilliant acting. Some of the poems mouthed by Farhan which are originally written by Javed Akhtar are beautiful. Katrina Kaif as Laila, gets a tailor made role for herself and hence plays it well. Kalki doesn’t get much to do. Abhay and Hrithik are great but nothing extra.

The review of ZNMD cannot be complete without the mention of the stupendous cinematography of Carlos Catalan. Hat’s off to him for giving breath-taking view of Spain. Right from the Tomatino festival to the Sky-diving or the deep sea diving, each and every scene is captured brilliantly. Only if editing by Anand Subaya could’ve been better, the film could’ve attained perfection as far as it is visually concerned. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is disappointing.

To sum it up, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is an experience to be enjoyed only once, not Dobara.

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