A film that is just almost entirely set in Spain, and has done an outstanding job of showcasing that exotic country, I wonder how much of a budget did it really have?? What an inconsequential question, right?? Perhaps it’s my hangover of constant budgeting for television shows that brings up this question first in my mind. If I were Excel Entertainment, I would have sold the script to Spanish Tourism and done the film at a negligible cost! Who wouldn’t want their country to be plastered across every frame of a Hindi film and then use the footage liberally to host “I need Spain” ads across Indian television channels…I’ll tell you what, it is the bane of us TV-wallahs, that we settle for such adverts and crib! We’ll never be able to sell a concept to a tourism board of an exotic country and treat the junket as a ticket to a splendid holiday! And it is for the poor cousins like us, do film-walas decide to export their story lines to exotic, lust worthy locations!
Now that I have had my little rant…I can proceed with what I thought about the film!
To begin with, if I wanted to have a bachelor party and set it around adventure sports I could have settled the film on desi shores. You know you can do scuba and sky diving in India, right? But it is that bull race that simply belongs to Spainand I can’t import that here!! Okay, yes…and there is the Tomatina Festival too! And the breathtaking views…the magnificent villas…the splendid drives and the horses racing in the wind…I can’t bring any of that to India. WHAM! There you go…that is what Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is all about!
The story is simple enough and like any other Farhan Akhtar production (except Honeymoon Travels with its Superhero couple), the characters are real. Three friends, visibly rich, decide to take a trip across Spain, indulge in extreme sports and then discover the real meaning of ‘zindagi’! The dialogues are blithe, conversational, the humor is a great takeaway…that’s why you go back home remembering ‘mantal’ and ‘bagwati’…and the insane / desi Spanish that Farhan’s character uses. Yes, it is Imraan’s character that emerges the winner in the film. Only a sister writing this character and casting her brother in it would have managed to make Farhan look bigger and better than Hrithik!! Hrithik, after Kites and Guzaarish could do with light-hearted acting and he does exactly that by the end of the film! His existential problem is believable and perhaps that’s why his transformation after a day of scuba diving makes him a new Arjun! His love interest Katrina, smiles and pouts through much of the film (which isn’t anything new), but yes she does look beautiful through it all (which is also not anything new)! The other actress, Kalki on the other hand does well as the jealous-ridden-ambition-forgotten-fiancee. Abhay to me seemed the odd one out, I mean he is good in the kind of films he chooses and that is why ZNMD to me didn’t seem the sort he’d pick up! Going by the few shirtless scenes that he had, I am convinced Hrithik and Farhan gave him quite a scare! Poor boy! Anyways, he worked his geeky glasses and dimples through the film and came across the perfect fall guy at the end of it!
The subplot in the film is a mix of the demons that each of the characters chase…within them…their fears from life. And like any other good film, the demons are put to rest at the end of the day! Does any one know what happens to the ‘survival’ vows that they make??
I took home the music, the poetry and the gags that the boys played! No it isn’t a Dil Chahta Hai…and neither is a Hangover! It doesn’t have the ingredients of a ‘cult’ film; it will do good business at the box office and be called the mid-year hit! It is just a celebration of life…a good watch that will leave you wanting to call a forgotten friend, renew an abandoned pact and if not anything else…it will make you check out Spain as a holiday destination!
As for me, I am settling for the last one…