'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' Movie Review
The movie is honest and funny, but it lacks 'zindagi'
Actors: Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akthar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin
Director: Zoya Akhtar;
First the good news. 'Zindagi…' is one of the most nuanced, evenly paced and well executed films in commercial Indian cinema. This cross between 'Dil Chahta Hai' and 'Sideways' is funny and honest, but it is marred by one fundamental flaw - it has nothing important to say.
Yes, to a select few, neo-rich one percent of its audience who find nirvana swimming under Spanish seas or for whom freedom is feeling the wind in your hair in a high speed car, the message is loud and clear - you only live once so live it full. But one has to wonder, should a commercial film be made keeping just one percent of the audience in mind?
Yes, it is a message that everyone else needs as well, but should that message ride on a pleasure trip through Spanish landscape where there is beauty but no 'zindagi' or should it have been closer home, in the squalor and madness and 'life' of this nation.
Three old friends - Arjun (Hritik Roshan), Imran (Farhan Akthar) and Kabir (Abhay Deol) - go on a three-week bachelor road trip through Spain before Kabir's marriage, only to come face to face with their own fears and insecurities.
Globally there are too many road-trip films for Zoya Akhtar to bring anything new to the cinematic table. What she could have done was to have enough emotional pull for the viewer to empathise with the characters. But would you empathise with the fatherly, marriage-related and heartbreak problems of three rich men who really have everything going for them? Besides its one percent audience, the rest would find the existential angst of these three men, a creation of their own vanity.
Yet, besides its many flaws, dishonesty is not one of them. It's an honest film about the type of people the filmmaker interacts with daily. Sadly, that is perhaps the only cross section of society that Zoya Akhtar has known in her urban living. The problem with the film is thus the problem in the worldview of its maker, which is extremely limited in scope. And that is a shame because Zoya is a nuanced and refined filmmaker. She could do wonders with a story that is real and about real men and women.
'Zindagi…' thus actually ends up being like a big-budget film with the heart and audience of a small-budget indie. And that mismatch will perhaps do the film in at the box office.
Cinematically though, Zoya does try desperately to transcend the obvious, to mean the message rather than say it, like say a 'Sideways' or 'Lost in Translation' does. And though she knocks on the door of this transcendence, she is unable to pass through.
Commercial filmmakers in the past, either came from the grassroots like a Mehboob or Guru Dutt, or were concerned about it like Raj Kapoor. Their films hence reflected - sometimes directly - and often in the films written by Zoya's father Javed Akthar, allegorically, the angst, pain and the struggle for survival of the nation's teeming masses.
Sadly, as their world ended up becoming cocooned from life around, the connection their kids had with reality, became limited. The result are some really well made films, but ones with 'zindagi' only in their titles, not in their guts.
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by jessica, dubai
I loved the movie. It was an honest , straight from the heart types of movie, there wasnt unwanted masala........maybe the song picturisation could have been better , but the movie was awesome
posted 29 July 2011, 11:36 AM UAE time.
by danny, leeds, uk
I 100% agree with your review. This movie was nothing new. How many times in bollywood we have been told-live without fear, do what your heart says, etc etc. Just looks its cut, copied multiple movies, and pasted it together to make a new movie
posted 27 July 2011, 06:22 AM UAE time.
by Rachna, Mumbai, India
Hey, I don't agree with this review either. Only point where I could come close to agreeing is that I expected lots. But that's the price to pay for the hype that was created. As a film, it was brilliant in every way. we as people are only to prejudiced by our pre-formed notions. Objectively, it was a beautiful movie. Not a killer but definitely a chilled out entertainer.
posted 25 July 2011, 08:20 PM UAE time.
by Divya, Dubai, UAE
Mr Satyen -- You really need a Break ! -- This movie is picturized well, the message they wanna a convince is well understood by any class of audience ... After seeing the movie -- Once thing u realize is Just live ur life to the fullest -- it does'nt say that go to spain and Enjoy !!! To write a review abt the movie You really need to judge it in the scale of cinematography . MOVIE IS THE BEST -- everyone should watch it !
posted 25 July 2011, 10:56 AM UAE time.
by namal, khi, Pakistan
I am sorry i dont agree with this review, if your not rich does not mean u cant watch movies on rich people. people go to the cinema to escape frm there everyday problems and have a break to refresh their minds,,not to go n see other people suffering from the same issues with beautiful faces!!!
posted 21 July 2011, 09:39 AM UAE time.
by Shikha, Dubai, UAE
Zindagi na milegi dobara ....... What a movie... couldn't get any better .....
posted 20 July 2011, 09:07 PM UAE time.
by abbas, Dubai, UAE
Good photography, acting, music. Farhan tries hard to be funny ! wonder why does every second movie nowadays is showing the lead players jumping to bed without being married. what kind of message does this implies to family audiences ?
posted 20 July 2011, 04:38 PM UAE time.
by ABBAS, Dubai, UAE
the review is right about the limited people who can have such choices - those born rich, or who have rich friends or who deal with stock market ! most of people in India have responsibilities, struggle a lot & make sacrifices till they realise when to have some fun. The movie is good and the sky diving scenes are total Paisa Vasool !
posted 17 July 2011, 03:36 PM UAE time.
by Viranga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Loved ZNMD... The movie is certainly worth the money & must watch. Wish we could really live life that way. Loved Farhan alot :)
posted 17 July 2011, 01:54 PM UAE time.
by Mariam Mohammed, Dubai, UAE
ZNMD was a treat to watch and is a must watch. Very refreshing from the normal commercial cinema. Hats off Zoya!
posted 17 July 2011, 11:39 AM UAE time.
by Umar, Dubai
Uncle Satyen K Bordoloi, go get a life... this movie is rocking... gonna watch it again today.
posted 16 July 2011, 11:17 AM UAE time.
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