Movie Review: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

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  • Something bothering you? Go to Spain and fix it!

Three rich, young men go to Spain and have a good time. Correction. A great time ? something that changes their lives forever. That, now, is Hollywood enough and also, Bollywood enough. A road trip, we have not explored much; and life-changing moments, we have done lots, and much more.

Kabir (Abhay Deol), Imraan (Farhan Akhtar) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) could have been any three men who go on a holiday. But they are not. They are almost cardboard characters who have so much money to spend that they barely keep an account of their expenses in a foreign country. Granted, Kabir is a scion of a business magnate and Arjun, obsessed with making money, has earned enough at his stock broking firm in London. But one wonders how Imraan, a copywriter at an advertising agency, could pool in so much? Also, more curiously, how Arjun could throw away so much if money means more than life to him; we are not told.

They wear the best of clothes and hire the best of cars and live a life that an average Indian could only dream of. To top it all, Katrina Kaif as a diving instructor is somewhat too much even for fantasy.

Each of the three men has one piece of unresolved emotional baggage that is bothering them to such an extent that they are all imploding inside. There is nothing life-threatening about any of these conditions and so the viewer could feel distanced from their seemingly frivolous problems.

Nonetheless, to discredit ?Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? of any merit would be unfair, unjust too. Somewhere, it pleases you exactly for the same reasons that it annoys you. Had director-writer Zoya Akhtar been more careful, the former would have outdone the latter. She had made sure of that in her ?Luck by Chance? (2010), which did not lack depth.

Coming to the characterization, the three guys are believable and likeable in the first half. Here, Zoya Akhtar cleverly and quietly adds souls to them. The jokes they share, the fun they have and their adventures do entertain. The comedy is subtle, smart and very enjoyable. Cinematographer Carlos Catalan captures Spain so beautifully that the landscapes are able to breathe through his camera. Be it underwater or high up in the air, his lenses have done justice to the demands made.

And then there is Farhan Akhtar. He, perhaps, is the best actor today?s times have seen. There is nothing predictable about his mercurial expressions because his acting is not of the method acting school. Neither is it similar to the highly overrated performances by a few recent superstars. His is delightful. His is charming. His is comfort!

Abhay Deol and Kalki Koechlin are also at their usual best. Hrithik Roshan is more or less disappointing. Is it more of Arjun?s fault than his? Or is it that a toned down performance from a more sober and less flamboyant Hrithik feels strange?  He is even awkward in a song where he is just staring at the horizon. With the exception of ?Senorita,? all songs are either out of place or boring, or both. It is time we restrict songs to the background.

Moving to the title, does the ?carpe diem? message ? seize the day for the future is unforeseen ? come out? Yes, but only to Kabir, Imraan and Arjun. You, on the other hand, can be an observer. So, there are good enough reasons to watch it and not watch it. In my opinion, either way you are good.

Rating: 2.5/5

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Writer: Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin
Runtime: 155 minutes

Adeesh A. is a final year student in English Literature, Psychology and Journalism at St. Aloysius College who has a serious preoccupation of analysing trends in cinema.

Author: Adeesh A.- Mangalore

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