Film | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) is that it is poetry in motion. Sounds cheesy I know, but it’s true. The second being that in terms of friendship and the overall feel of the film, it slightly resembles Dil Chahta Hai (2001), but I plan to overlook that aspect of the film.

In ZNMD, three school friends played by Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, and Abhay Deol go on a road trip across Spain that they have been planning since, well, their school days. The aim of the trip is for each to plan a secret adventure sport that all three must participate in and in some ways will test their fears. In between the activities, the driving around beautiful locations, all three end up fighting their respective inner demons and inhibitions, meeting new people, and most importantly forming a stronger bond between themselves and the people that in one way or another influence their lives.

ZNMD has a rather leisurely pace to it, and I loved that about the movie – The one time you won’t see me complain about the duration of the film. This unhurried-ness coincides with the theme of the film, that of experiencing everything that life throws at you and simultaneously to take it slow, look around, and enjoy life. While watching the film I kept remembering a quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. In it’s feel ZNMD also weirdly reminded me of Luc Besson’s excellent The Big Blue. The stories are poles apart, but there is a certain similarity of calm and serenity that runs through the veins of both films.

Zindagi Na Milega Dorbara proves to be the best tourism promotional video Spain could have. The beauty of the lesser explored regions is simply amazing. I’ve been to Spain a few times enjoying the coastal areas, but I too was surprised with the natural beauty that the country has to offer. Furthermore, the now world famous Tomatina festival and “Running of the Bulls” events are beautifully incorporated in the movie. There’s no surprise then that over the last few years, since the release of the film, there has been a subsequent increase in people traveling to Spain from India.

ZNMD succeeds as a film because the audience can see the actors have fun. All the three main male leads have excellent chemistry together and compliment each other beautifully. Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin, both, for a change, don’t seem out of place. What really stood out was the lack of over dramatization that can often be seen in Indian films. While it does have the odd song and dance numbers that are synonymous with most Indian films, it does not drag and for me the soundtrack is one of the best in the last decade. Furthermore, the film ends when it should, and it does at times preach, but then it is up to the audience to make what they want out of these lessons of life.

Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara is modern cinema at its best. Zoya Akhtar taps well into the psyche of the metropolitan youngster making the film hip and happening and one that relates well with the now globally conscious Indian. What’s really interesting is that although the film is shot predominantly in Spain and has a very modern outlook, it still is grounded in Indian culture and ethos and that makes it unique for the universal audience.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a beautiful, fresh, and young road movie that will encourage you to live life to the fullest, celebrate love and friendship, and of course will leave you with a wanderlust for exotic places.

 

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